Definition of incisive in English:



  • 1(of a person or mental process) intelligently analytical and clear-thinking.

    ‘she was an incisive critic’
    • ‘While the progressive implications of some of the films seem tangential, the analysis is generally incisive and occasionally provocative.’
    • ‘In fact, Webb was a highly educated and incisive intellect.’
    • ‘He is incisive, can bowl for long periods, and keeps coming at the batsmen; for them the pressure seldom ceases.’
    • ‘Consider this incisive analysis of the Whitewater investigation.’
    • ‘Perhaps he is more incisive on individually produced artefacts like paintings or buildings.’
    • ‘He was incisive in his comments, challenging members to improve their pictures and explaining clearly how he felt this could be done.’
    • ‘That much is clear from your letters related to my incisive analysis last week, exploring Google's ills.’
    • ‘If I were currently more in charge of my faculties and able to string together a cohesive sentence, I would undoubtedly offer you some incisive media analysis of this news.’
    • ‘Since he dictates all of his written work, the way he writes and the way he talks are identical: ornate, elaborate, old-fashioned, yet incisive and clear.’
    • ‘I have written in the past that I would love to watch the Sunday gasbag shows with some of America's incisive social critics of the past.’
    • ‘The writing is fresh, the analyses incisive - all the things that are necessary for a good work of history.’
    • ‘No man could so stimulate others unless, alongside an incisive intellect, he was possessed of enthusiasm and warmth, a deep interest in his fellow man, and a sympathy the more real for being unsentimental.’
    • ‘With clear tables and incisive arguments, it is a single-volume reference on this vexing sociocultural problem.’
    • ‘Deliver intelligent and incisive points, well made and expressed with sublime brevity, with great import for the organisation and relevant to all present.’
    • ‘He is always incisive and insightful, and understands Wagner's epic character almost as well as anyone.’
    • ‘These traits have made him one of the liveliest and most incisive intellectuals in France.’
    • ‘He does not seek to be fashionable, yet his incisive analysis of social and political realities reflects a distinctive outlook.’
    • ‘We commit to continuing to publish the serious scoops, the weighty investigative pieces and the incisive political analysis.’
    • ‘Uday is a screaming crazy who lacks his father's deft administrative touch, incisive analytical skills, brimming compassion, and sense of restraint.’
    • ‘They have the makings of incisive critics of visual culture.’
    penetrating, acute, sharp, sharp-witted, razor-sharp, keen, rapier-like, astute, shrewd, trenchant, piercing, perceptive, insightful, percipient, perspicacious, discerning, analytical, intelligent, canny, clever, smart, quick
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of an account) accurate and sharply focused.
      ‘the songs offer incisive pictures of American ways’
      • ‘Might he be the focus of some incisive Hollywood docudrama?’
      • ‘Its impact is enhanced by incisive writing and compelling evidence in profusion.’
      • ‘Her writing is often powerful and incisive, but it achieves this effect through simplicity and restraint rather than stylistic flourish.’
      • ‘These articles are the most incisive and intelligent I've yet seen anywhere, and I seriously hope you will continue to draw more detailed conclusions from this case.’
      • ‘His simple yet incisive writing gives you a very clear picture of the fears and longings of these teens.’
      • ‘You can look forward to some retrospective travel notes, complaints about summer TV and other incisive, analytical gems.’
      • ‘News organizations will gain readers by providing the most complete, reliable news, the most informed commentary, and the most aggressive, incisive reporting.’
      • ‘Although her passion, and commitment to accuracy, decency and incisive writing never deserted her, Gay's health progressively did, and her final years were not happy.’
      • ‘The moments of grace and beauty, of clear crisp prose and keen incisive social commentary lie outside the obsessive, self-reflexive mediations of Ben and Priya on the nature of their flawed union.’
      • ‘Most of the jokes aren't laugh-aloud funny but they are incisive.’
      • ‘His account is highly readable and sometimes incisive.’
      • ‘The writing is pithy and incisive and sometimes devastatingly accurate.’
      • ‘The films I was making weren't incisive enough.’
      • ‘I'm only into the second chapter, but it's incredibly incisive stuff: simple anecdotes that illustrate simple yet powerful principles.’
      • ‘For those familiar with the era, the documentary is a sweet piece of nostalgia even if it fails to be comprehensive or intellectually incisive.’
      • ‘The pages brim with incisive descriptions and exquisite pictures of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and Patagonia.’
      • ‘Fortunately, incisive writing and convincing performances help us overlook them.’
      • ‘They are incisive, beautifully written, witty and very personal.’
      • ‘His incisive account of the institutional experimentation with respect to cutting rights is informative.’
      • ‘I thought the last paragraph was the most incisive passage in the piece.’
  • 2(of an action) quick and direct.

    ‘the most incisive move of a tight match’
    • ‘Making only their second appearance in this championship, they had opened brightly enough, showing some neat, incisive play in attack.’
    • ‘His favoured 3-4 - 3 formation may have to be adjusted slightly to accommodate the quick and incisive passing that enables Rangers to move up the park swiftly.’
    • ‘Argentina started to take control of the game, with a patient game in the back and quick and incisive counter-attacks, complemented of course by their lethal penalty corners.’
    • ‘The Pakistanis, on the other hand, played purposefully with some incisive moves from both the flanks, creating a lot of problems for the Indian defenders.’
    • ‘Friedel, who was a virtual spectator for the vast majority of the afternoon, had to save smartly from Geremi early on following an incisive move down the right.’
    • ‘The Briton was in control for much of the encounter with Velazquez although she could not produce an incisive winning move, her pressure forced her opponent to twice concede shido penalties.’
    • ‘But there's something terrifically right and incisive about her every move in the first few scenes.’
    • ‘Holland and Portugal giving a brilliant display of incisive wing play.’
    • ‘After a scrappy start, both teams settled down with York producing a series of incisive moves, all of which collapsed either at the whistle of the referee or their own indiscretions.’
    • ‘He side-steps his way over out wide to score his first try for England after a rare incisive move.’
    • ‘However, Keighley showed ruthless finishing almost on half-time as their backs opened up Park with an incisive move to score the try, making it 3-11 at the break.’
    • ‘The discipline and tenacity of Porto's defence tonight, and their capacity for quick, incisive breaks, recalled Clough's Forest teams at their best.’
    • ‘His incisive, direct running was a breath of fresh air and it was no surprise when he cut through to create the Bulls' second.’
    • ‘On the stroke of half-time, Stoke finally pierced through the resolute City rearguard with a swift, incisive move.’
    • ‘Donegal put together another incisive move in the 19th minute, Hegarty netting with aplomb.’
    • ‘But the game was made safe by Black eight minutes from time after another incisive move.’
    • ‘How pleasing to see quick, incisive passing and astute running off the ball again.’
    • ‘In the sixth minute, an incisive move down Balliol's left saw a twenty-yard effort tipped around the post.’
    • ‘Kendal managed to construct some incisive moves and penetrating attacks but they came to nothing.’
    • ‘Thus, our over the board play is less incisive - how can we find the best moves if we don't even know what we're supposed to be doing?’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘cutting, penetrating’): from medieval Latin incisivus, from Latin incidere ‘cut into’ (see incise).