Definition of intensive in English:



  • 1Concentrated on a single subject or into a short time; very thorough or vigorous.

    ‘she undertook an intensive Arabic course’
    ‘eight days of intensive arms talks’
    • ‘She was subjected to an intensive combination of cytotoxic drugs and cranial radiotherapy.’
    • ‘‘This programme is a thorough and intensive course designed to produce a safe, confident and competent pilot,’ Xu said.’
    • ‘A passenger whose baggage triggers an alarm might in turn be subject to intensive search procedures - and those are no laughing matter.’
    • ‘Because of their involvement in a number of incidents and controversies over the past 50 years, dioxins have been subjected to the most intensive studies.’
    • ‘A core of crime-busting constables will be singled out for intensive training and form a highly-skilled squad of at least 150 specialists.’
    • ‘She said the public would be consulted next year and there would be a thorough, intensive review.’
    • ‘But many of these ingredients haven't been subjected to intensive research that proves this benefit.’
    • ‘You will then be subjected to an intensive onslaught of facial improvements.’
    • ‘That, too, was subjected to intensive monitoring.’
    • ‘It helps if every learner exploits his interpersonal skills to the fullest through intensive courses.’
    • ‘Over the course of 10 months, fellows participate in seven intensive sessions held in different cities.’
    • ‘There he will join a group of more than 100 other young hopefuls on a one week trial, and if successful will return in August along with thirty others for a full 10 month intensive course.’
    • ‘But the specialist training required to be the best at the job does not come easily, with each animal having to undertake a rigorous 13-week intensive course.’
    • ‘Large businesses and high wealth individuals will continue to be the subject of intensive risk reviews.’
    • ‘The basic case study entails the detailed and intensive analysis of a single case.’
    • ‘Security inside and outside the court was heavy with everyone entering the building scanned and subject to intensive searches.’
    • ‘They took part in an intensive English class for eight weeks almost immediately on arrival.’
    • ‘But through group therapy and intensive one on one sessions, she seems to be almost fully recovered.’
    • ‘It was a rigorous and intensive course, and this was reflected in the number of passes.’
    • ‘Kelly was subject to intensive questioning for days.’
    thorough, in-depth, concentrated, rigorous, exhaustive, all-out, concerted, thoroughgoing
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    1. 1.1 (of agriculture) aiming to achieve maximum production within a limited area, especially by using chemical and technological aids.
      ‘intensive farming’
      Often contrasted with extensive (sense 2)
      ‘less intensive, more environmentally friendly forms of farming’
      • ‘This livestock disease is endemic in countries unable to afford intensive agriculture, yet has been absent from Europe for three decades.’
      • ‘In Japan, intensive agriculture came in with migrants from the mainland about 2,300 years ago.’
      • ‘Cattle farming required a more intensive cultivation of fodder crops such as maize, potatoes, turnips, and mangels.’
      • ‘Many diversified from intensive agriculture to dairying.’
      • ‘After several centuries of intensive cultivation agricultural productivity had probably started to fall, living standards for most were declining, and population growth had ceased.’
      • ‘Many wheat breeders were successful in breeding semi-dwarf, high-yielding varieties that were well adapted to intensive agriculture.’
      • ‘In the UK intensive agriculture with the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides to boost crop production has squeezed wildlife out of many former strongholds.’
      • ‘Intensive animal ‘farming’ of any kind is a disgusting business, but intensive chicken factories are really repulsive and infinitely crueller than any kind of hunting.’
      • ‘BSE is a direct outcome of this intensive, highly concentrated model of beef production.’
      • ‘Nor is a return to ‘primitive’ farming practices the only alternative to factory farming and highly intensive agriculture.’
      • ‘The location of participation across the state, as expected, closely follows the areas of intensive commercial agricultural production.’
      • ‘No doubt there are some dodgy practices on intensive farms - most big farms are big businesses out to maximise profits and only too happy to cut corners.’
      • ‘There was an intensive agriculture linked to international markets through a key product: silk.’
      • ‘Instead, due to less intensive agriculture, such plantations are confined to the areas around habitation and in some of the more accessible valleys.’
      • ‘Like intensive power production, so intensive agriculture spares the landscape.’
      • ‘The report says highly intensive agriculture using herbicide tolerant GM crops may be very damaging to biodiversity.’
      • ‘Although the food industry has been racked by crisis, Scottish ministers still favour intensive farming with chemicals.’
      • ‘They are poor farmers who could never easily afford expensive chemicals used in intensive farming, going organic to boost their meagre incomes.’
      • ‘The population, divided into a dozen chiefdoms and supported by intensive agriculture, soon rose to 15,000 or more.’
      • ‘But perhaps the true price has been hidden, and the cost is perhaps even greater than some intensive agriculture, because the damage reaches far beyond the farms.’
    2. 1.2usually in combination (typically in business and economics) concentrating on or making much use of a specified thing.
      ‘computer-intensive methods’
      • ‘He should try to recognise the costs of implementing the minimum wage particularly on businesses in labour intensive industries such as the tourism industry.’
      • ‘With a relatively small take-up of electronic accounts in Ireland, the private client business is highly labour intensive.’
      • ‘Capital intensive businesses, such as World Wide Technology, involve significant amounts of investment money before any possibility for earnings.’
      • ‘Rigorous and data intensive, ecological economics builds on the idea that natural resources are as valid a form of capital as oil rigs.’
      • ‘It just doesn't work out economically, because the restaurant business has low profit margins and is so labor intensive.’
      • ‘They are considering relocating to Shanghai because high labour costs in this labour intensive business have eaten into their profits in Taiwan.’
      • ‘Nick's business is so labour intensive it will never make a great deal of money.’
      • ‘Opera is a hugely expensive business and very labour intensive.’
      • ‘Which would you prefer, a capital intensive business with few people or a people intensive one with little capital?’
      • ‘The truth is this is a labor intensive business and actually needs a good margin between the cost and the sale of the fabric in order to pay the overhead of being in business.’
      • ‘The United States was moving from an extensive economy to an intensive economy.’
      • ‘These businesses are usually time intensive and they can have a tremendous impact on the franchisee's family life.’
      • ‘In a highly automated service such as vending machine dispensing, the people element will be a less important element of the mix than a people intensive business such as a restaurant.’
      • ‘It is a labour intensive business, but Lisa says as they are getting more established and organized the workload seems to be lessening.’
      • ‘‘The reality is the business is labour intensive and costs have gone through the roof in the past number of years,’ he said.’
      • ‘These businesses are cost intensive and the margins are very low.’
      • ‘As a capital intensive business, the group has considered its options regarding flotation but intends to remain private for the foreseeable future.’
      • ‘According to Lee, Korean companies contribute much to the local economy as most of these companies are labor intensive and small and medium in nature.’
      • ‘Computer forensics is a very labor intensive business in terms of accessing the abuser's computer and getting sufficient evidence of robustness that will stand up in court.’
      • ‘To preserve the variation named varieties have to be grafted, a labour intensive business which explains the high price.’
  • 2Grammar
    (of an adjective, adverb, or particle) giving force or emphasis.

    • ‘Fernando Pereira emailed an anecdote about intensive use of eh.’
  • 3Physics
    Denoting a property which is measured in terms of intensity (e.g. concentration) rather than of extent (e.g. volume), and so is not simply increased by addition of one thing to another.

    • ‘Clearly, the intercept differences produced by the intensive properties were substantially smaller than those produced by spatial properties.’
    • ‘It is an intensive physical property of a particular material and does not depend on the amount of material present.’
    • ‘The answer could be that in the Antarctica snowfields, they are subject to intensive UV irradiation which causes ionisation.’
    • ‘The first one is the vestibule of the channel, where the curvature of the dielectric boundary generates intensive electrostatic forces.’


  • An intensive adjective, adverb, or particle; an intensifier.

    • ‘That is from the words of the intensives used when they talk about ‘very likely’, ‘you see it all the time’, et cetera.’
    • ‘Particles are added, usually as completives and intensives, to two and three-syllable verbs of Latin origin: contract out, divide off/up, level off, measure off/out, select out, separate off/out.’


On the difference between intensive and intense, see intense


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘vehement, intense’): from French intensif, -ive or medieval Latin intensivus, from intendere (see intend).