Definition of divisive in English:



  • Tending to cause disagreement or hostility between people.

    ‘the highly divisive issue of abortion’
    • ‘Their similarities override their differences, and yet in these towns race has become a divisive issue.’
    • ‘It is therefore no surprise that the party always looks for divisive issues.’
    • ‘So few words yet they have led to one of the most divisive issues in our country.’
    • ‘The Trade Ministers will attempt to build bridges in the divisive but linchpin issue of farm trade.’
    • ‘During the talks held earlier this year, the time frames were among the most divisive issues.’
    • ‘She said she would listen to the people in order to achieve a consensus on the potentially divisive issue.’
    • ‘The success of the EU has been its ability to find cohesion on even the most divisive of issues.’
    • ‘It was an important declaration of principle on one of the most divisive political issues of the day.’
    • ‘The bottom line is that the IFA is content to avoid what it considers to be a divisive issue.’
    • ‘On such a divisive issue, the candidates owe it to the military to tell us where they stand.’
    • ‘As we've seen lately in campus politics, some issues can be ideologically divisive.’
    • ‘It is the most divisive issue in British politics and has been for over a decade.’
    • ‘The debate over climate change is certain to become the most divisive issue at the Gleneagles summit.’
    • ‘The abortion issue has opened up the historically divisive issue to wider debate.’
    • ‘For at its heart this election has highlighted the thorny, divisive issue of what that flag stands for.’
    • ‘Race is a very divisive issue and if they managed to get a seat it would be very bad news for everyone in the area.’
    • ‘They are difficult, divisive issues, but they can not be avoided any longer.’
    • ‘Now they're at it again, casting around for a racially or socially divisive issue.’
    • ‘Abortion has always been a very polarising, divisive issue that is irreconcilable.’
    • ‘That avenue would be open, that divisive issue would be out there for years to come, and it would not be fixed.’
    alienating, estranging, isolating, schismatic
    View synonyms


Mid 16th century (as a noun denoting something that divides or separates): from late Latin divisivus, from Latin dividere (see divide).