Definition of costive in English:



  • 1Constipated.

    • ‘His work is particularly strong in its depiction of the ways in which those at the pinnacle of medical practice have altered their understanding of the causes, effects and, therefore, treatment of costive patients.’
  • 2Slow or reluctant in speech or action; unforthcoming.

    ‘if he did ask her she would become costive’
    • ‘It is costive and hermetic and yet obsessed with changing the world.’
    • ‘He is certainly gesturally sparing and chromatically costive.’
    • ‘Still, much as one enjoys the giddiness as reality and fiction seep into each other, there is still something wilfully costive about it.’
    • ‘Yet although the writer pokes fun, he teases the verbally prolix, emotionally costive Huxley as much as he does the earnest Wilberforce.’
    • ‘Within the production's terms, George Anton is a powerfully costive Hamlet both hostile to and tainted by this world of animalistic appetite.’
    shy, bashful, coy, retiring, diffident, reserved, restrained, withdrawn, shrinking, timid, timorous, sheepish, unconfident, insecure, unsure, suspicious, unassertive
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin constipatus pressed together (see constipated).