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See more synonyms for incisive on Thesaurus.com
  1. penetrating; cutting; biting; trenchant: an incisive tone of voice.
  2. remarkably clear and direct; sharp; keen; acute: an incisive method of summarizing the issue.
  3. adapted for cutting or piercing.
  4. of or relating to the incisors: the incisive teeth.
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Origin of incisive

From the Medieval Latin word incīsīvus, dating back to 1520–30. See incise, -ive
Related formsin·ci·sive·ly, adverbin·ci·sive·ness, nounun·in·ci·sive, adjectiveun·in·ci·sive·ly, adverbun·in·ci·sive·ness, noun

Synonyms for incisive

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for incisiveness

burn, zip, keenness, bite, guts, sharpness, punch, sting, zap, piquancy, kick, spice

Examples from the Web for incisiveness

Historical Examples of incisiveness

  • Jeremy was pale, but his manner kept its incisiveness, his speech its lucidity.

    Double Harness

    Anthony Hope

  • There is lack of incisiveness, sharpness of outline, cohesion of thought.

  • There appears to be an incisiveness about them which appeals to parrot nature.

    Birds of the Plains

    Douglas Dewar

  • The beauty and incisiveness of the poetic prophecy in xxxvii.

  • "It is certainly a medley," he replied, with some incisiveness.

    Brooke's Daughter

    Adeline Sergeant

British Dictionary definitions for incisiveness


  1. keen, penetrating, or acute
  2. biting or sarcastic; mordantan incisive remark
  3. having a sharp cutting edgeincisive teeth
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Derived Formsincisively, adverbincisiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for incisiveness



early 15c., inscisif, "slashing, cutting with a sharp edge," from Middle French incisif and directly from Medieval Latin incisivus, from Latin incis-, past participle stem of incidere (see incision). Originally literal; figurative sense of "mentally acute" first recorded 1850 as a borrowing from French. Related: Incisively; incisiveness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

incisiveness in Medicine


  1. Having the power to cut.
  2. Relating to the incisor teeth.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.