[ in-ten-siv ]
See synonyms for: intensiveintensively on

  1. of, relating to, or characterized by intensity: intensive questioning.

  2. tending to intensify; intensifying.

  1. Medicine/Medical.

    • increasing in intensity or degree.

    • instituting treatment to the limit of safety.

  2. noting or pertaining to a system of agriculture involving the cultivation of limited areas, and relying on the maximum use of labor and expenditures to raise the crop yield per unit area (opposed to extensive).

  3. requiring or having a high concentration of a specified quality or element (used in combination): Coal mining is a labor-intensive industry.

  4. Grammar. indicating increased emphasis or force. Certainly is an intensive adverb. Myself in I did it myself is an intensive pronoun.

  1. something that intensifies.

  2. Grammar. an intensive element or formation, as -self in himself, or Latin -tō in iac-tō, “I hurl” from iacō, “I throw.”

Origin of intensive

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English, from the Medieval Latin word intēnsīvus. See intense, -ive

Other words from intensive

  • in·ten·sive·ly, adverb
  • in·ten·sive·ness, noun
  • un·in·ten·sive, adjective
  • un·in·ten·sive·ly, adverb

Words that may be confused with intensive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use intensive in a sentence

  • That Israel is covered intensively by the American press is a bonus, he says.

  • American authorities have long known al-Bahri; they interrogated him intensively after the 9/11 attacks.

    Bin Laden's Death Wish | Eric Pape | April 16, 2010 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • This gave them a correspondingly greater significance, both intensively and extensively.

  • Before all it occurs when anything is dealt with intensively, increasing with the increase of the difficulty of the subject.

    Criminal Psychology | Hans Gross
  • Population was compelled to develop the country somewhat intensively, by reason of the difficulty of westward expansion.

  • The rest was more carefully tended, but it was a vegetable garden with rectangles of kitchen stuffs intensively cultivated.

    The Enemies of Women | Vicente Blasco Ibez
  • A given bit of land is said to be cultivated more and more intensively when more and more labor and capital are used on it.

British Dictionary definitions for intensive


/ (ɪnˈtɛnsɪv) /

  1. involving the maximum use of land, time, or some other resource: intensive agriculture; an intensive course

  2. (usually in combination) using one factor of production proportionately more than others, as specified: capital-intensive; labour-intensive

  1. agriculture involving or farmed using large amounts of capital or labour to increase production from a particular area: Compare extensive (def. 3)

  2. denoting or relating to a grammatical intensifier

  3. denoting or belonging to a class of pronouns used to emphasize a noun or personal pronoun, such as himself in the sentence John himself did it. In English, intensive pronouns are identical in form with reflexive pronouns

  4. of or relating to intension

  5. physics of or relating to a local property, measurement, etc, that is independent of the extent of the system: Compare extensive (def. 4)

  1. an intensifier or intensive pronoun or grammatical construction

Derived forms of intensive

  • intensively, adverb
  • intensiveness, 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