Definition of incisive in English:



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

    ‘she was an incisive critic’
    • ‘He does not seek to be fashionable, yet his incisive analysis of social and political realities reflects a distinctive outlook.’
    • ‘While the progressive implications of some of the films seem tangential, the analysis is generally incisive and occasionally provocative.’
    • ‘We commit to continuing to publish the serious scoops, the weighty investigative pieces and the incisive political analysis.’
    • ‘That much is clear from your letters related to my incisive analysis last week, exploring Google's ills.’
    • ‘Perhaps he is more incisive on individually produced artefacts like paintings or buildings.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘With clear tables and incisive arguments, it is a single-volume reference on this vexing sociocultural problem.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Consider this incisive analysis of the Whitewater investigation.’
    • ‘He is incisive, can bowl for long periods, and keeps coming at the batsmen; for them the pressure seldom ceases.’
    • ‘The writing is fresh, the analyses incisive - all the things that are necessary for a good work of history.’
    • ‘Deliver intelligent and incisive points, well made and expressed with sublime brevity, with great import for the organisation and relevant to all present.’
    • ‘Uday is a screaming crazy who lacks his father's deft administrative touch, incisive analytical skills, brimming compassion, and sense of restraint.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They have the makings of incisive critics of visual culture.’
    • ‘In fact, Webb was a highly educated and incisive intellect.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He was incisive in his comments, challenging members to improve their pictures and explaining clearly how he felt this could be done.’
    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
    concise, succinct, pithy, to the point, crisp, clear
    punchy, on the ball
    argute, sapient
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(of an account) accurate and sharply focused.
      ‘the songs offer incisive pictures of American ways’
      • ‘Her writing is often powerful and incisive, but it achieves this effect through simplicity and restraint rather than stylistic flourish.’
      • ‘The writing is pithy and incisive and sometimes devastatingly accurate.’
      • ‘You can look forward to some retrospective travel notes, complaints about summer TV and other incisive, analytical gems.’
      • ‘His simple yet incisive writing gives you a very clear picture of the fears and longings of these teens.’
      • ‘The pages brim with incisive descriptions and exquisite pictures of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and Patagonia.’
      • ‘I thought the last paragraph was the most incisive passage in the piece.’
      • ‘His account is highly readable and sometimes incisive.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I'm only into the second chapter, but it's incredibly incisive stuff: simple anecdotes that illustrate simple yet powerful principles.’
      • ‘His incisive account of the institutional experimentation with respect to cutting rights is informative.’
      • ‘Its impact is enhanced by incisive writing and compelling evidence in profusion.’
      • ‘Fortunately, incisive writing and convincing performances help us overlook them.’
      • ‘The films I was making weren't incisive enough.’
      • ‘News organizations will gain readers by providing the most complete, reliable news, the most informed commentary, and the most aggressive, incisive reporting.’
      • ‘They are incisive, beautifully written, witty and very personal.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Most of the jokes aren't laugh-aloud funny but they are incisive.’
      • ‘For those familiar with the era, the documentary is a sweet piece of nostalgia even if it fails to be comprehensive or intellectually incisive.’
      • ‘Might he be the focus of some incisive Hollywood docudrama?’


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