from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Penetrating, clear, and sharp, as in operation or expression: an incisive mind; incisive comments.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Quickly proceeding to judgment and forceful in expression; decisive; forthright.
  • adj. Intelligently analytical and concise.
  • adj. Having the quality of incising, cutting, or penetrating, as with a sharp instrument; sharp; acute; sarcastic; biting.
  • adj. Of or relating to the incisors.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having the quality of incising, cutting, or penetrating, as with a sharp instrument; cutting
  • adj. Of or pertaining to the incisors; incisor.
  • adj. Clearly and succinctly stated, with penetrating insight into the issue at hand.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Having the quality of cutting into or dividing the substance of anything; cutting, or used for cutting: as, the incisive teeth.
  • Figuratively, sharply and clearly expressive; penetrating; trenchant; sharp; acute.
  • Having the power of breaking up or dissolving viscid or coagulated humors.
  • In anatomy and zoology: Having the character, function, or situation of an incisor tooth; incisorial.
  • Pertaining in any way to an incisor; situated near incisors; containing incisors: synonymous with premaxillary or intermaxillary and prepalatine.
  • n. In entomology, the incisive edge of the mandible of a beetle. See incisive edge, above.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. having or demonstrating ability to recognize or draw fine distinctions
  • adj. suitable for cutting or piercing


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Where this assemblage of impressive objects falls short, though, is in incisive curatorial analysis.

    Lee Rosenbaum: Barbarians Tamed: The Met's Timid "Khubilai Khan" Exhibition

  • A new exhibit at the Metropolitan Art Museum falls short in incisive curatorial analysis.

    Lee Rosenbaum: Barbarians Tamed: The Met's Timid "Khubilai Khan" Exhibition

  • Your propensity to slander people who point out the inherent flaws in your strategy is duly noted, such as calling the incisive

    Terry Glavin

  • Long time readers of the Intrepid Liberal Journal may recall the incisive and sometimes irreverent comments Patrick has posted here over the years.

    Intrepid Liberal Journal

  • To many of us in the minority -- that is, those born before 1940 -- Clifton Fadiman is known as the incisive host of a long-running radio show, Information, P.ease, peopled by experts like Franklin P. Adams, Oscar Levant, and other well-informed bodies who spontaneously answered questions sent in by listeners.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol X No 4

  • The kind of incisive and intelligent analysis gaming deserves --- you know, the kind practiced here by Leigh --- seems to still only be possible when the writer and/or publisher isn't beholden to the tyranny of the marketplace.

    Moment of Silence

  • While Traister notes the many improvements resulting from 2008, there is still much to be done, and Big Girls Don't Cry advances that vital work with precisely the kind of incisive, thoughtful, and personal approach required by such a complicated and contentious subject matter.

    AJ Rossmiller: Brilliant New Book About Gender and 2008 Election

  • Roberts is going for a Bulgakov meets Foucault's Pendulum sort of thing, with conspiracies that turn out to be true and a lot of madcap running around Moscow with clever asides and "incisive" satire on the Soviet system, but it doesn't really come off as clever or madcap or even very conspiratorial.

    Yellow Blue OH MY GOD NO

  • I say "sadly," not because it's a pity the cable-news network exists (get your mind out of the gutter, you dirty hippies!), but because I believe that deprives so many historical events that truly could have benefited from the kind of incisive perspective that Fox is celebrated for providing.

    David Kronke: How Fox News Would Have Covered World History

  • “The Republican party is in deep trouble,” General Powell told some group willing to pay him serious money to deliver this kind of incisive insight.

    Archive 2009-05-01


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • incisive case

    September 22, 2010

  • Thus explaining the etymology of incisor, no doubt.

    April 27, 2008

  • that's when i say "bite me" and mean it.

    April 27, 2008