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[dih-skur-siv] /dɪˈskɜr sɪv/
passing aimlessly from one subject to another; digressive; rambling.
proceeding by reasoning or argument rather than intuition.
Origin of discursive
1590-1600; < Medieval Latin discursīvus. See discourse, -ive
Related forms
discursively, adverb
discursiveness, noun
nondiscursive, adjective
nondiscursively, adverb
nondiscursiveness, noun
1. wandering, long-winded, prolix. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for discursive
  • Further, what words "mean" alters by cultural, political and discursive context.
  • Disputes about who has 'faith' or not seem to me to be a discursive cul-de-sac.
  • Ultimately, the film is as flat as the discursive fiction on which it is based.
  • How he did it is a fascinating, discursive story.
  • But at the time, the offensive post was allowed to stand but the more discursive elements were removed.
  • Traditional narratives he found too prolix and discursive.
  • Medical students, for example, will have to answer discursive questions on biology.
  • It was quite prolonged and exceedingly discursive.
  • Reverse the polarity and let your voice flow and shape the entire discursive universe of the project.
  • Science I would associate rather broadly with inquiry directed towards discursive, as opposed to intuitive, knowledge.
British Dictionary definitions for discursive


passing from one topic to another, usually in an unmethodical way; digressive
(philosophy) of or relating to knowledge obtained by reason and argument rather than intuition Compare dianoetic
Derived Forms
discursively, adverb
discursiveness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin discursīvus, from Late Latin discursusdiscourse
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
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Word Origin and History for discursive

1590s, from Middle French discursif, from Medieval Latin discursivus, from Latin discursus "a running about" (see discourse). Related: Discursively.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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