Dictionary.com Word FAQs
What is the difference between the words intense and intensive?
The best way to illustrate the difference between the words is to say that emotions are intense, while an action that is sustained (such as attention or an application) is intensive. Intense comes from within, while intensive comes from without, i.e., it is imposed or assumed. Intense details a quality or condition (The cold was intense), but intensive implies that the degree or force is very high or strenuous (He received intensive training in meditation). Intense comes from Latin intensus and intendere 'stretched, strained'. Intensive came into English later, but evolved from the same Latin root. When words share roots, their meanings may not diverge enough for English speakers to easily discern the differences.