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[dih-vahy-siv, -vis-iv] /dɪˈvaɪ sɪv, -ˈvɪs ɪv/
forming or expressing division or distribution.
creating dissension or discord.
Origin of divisive
1590-1600; < Late Latin dīvīsīvus, equivalent to Latin dīvīs(us) (see divisible) + -īvus -ive
Related forms
divisively, adverb
divisiveness, noun
nondivisive, adjective
nondivisively, adverb
nondivisiveness, noun
semidivisive, adjective
semidivisively, adverb
semidivisiveness, noun
undivisive, adjective
undivisively, adverb
undivisiveness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for divisive
  • In the end, the book that had proved so divisive brought students together in a circle.
  • Opponents of home-schooling-and some of them are vehement-argue that it is socially divisive.
  • The war that divided a nation remains divisive today.
  • Few science policy issues today are as complex or divisive as climate change.
  • But today few issues are proving more divisive within the bloc than immigration.
  • Being divisive and being at each other's throats doesn't help us any.
  • It does not need to be as divisive as it seems to be.
  • And you can bet your last dollar that as the campaign season heats up, this fight will grow louder and more divisive.
  • It is insulting to blacks and can ultimately only be divisive.
  • But each party proposes different solutions, and none is more divisive than nuclear power.
British Dictionary definitions for divisive


causing or tending to cause disagreement or dissension
(archaic) having the quality of distinguishing
Derived Forms
divisively, adverb
divisiveness, 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
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Word Origin and History for divisive

c.1600, "having a quality of dividing," from Latin divis-, past participle stem of dividere (see divide (v.)) + -ive. Meaning "producing discord" is from 1640s. Related: Divisively; divisiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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