Definition of intensive in English:



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

    ‘she undertook an intensive Arabic course’
    ‘eight days of intensive arms talks’
    • ‘That, too, was subjected to intensive monitoring.’
    • ‘Kelly was subject to intensive questioning for days.’
    • ‘Large businesses and high wealth individuals will continue to be the subject of intensive risk reviews.’
    • ‘It helps if every learner exploits his interpersonal skills to the fullest through intensive courses.’
    • ‘A core of crime-busting constables will be singled out for intensive training and form a highly-skilled squad of at least 150 specialists.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It was a rigorous and intensive course, and this was reflected in the number of passes.’
    • ‘But many of these ingredients haven't been subjected to intensive research that proves this benefit.’
    • ‘But through group therapy and intensive one on one sessions, she seems to be almost fully recovered.’
    • ‘You will then be subjected to an intensive onslaught of facial improvements.’
    • ‘They took part in an intensive English class for eight weeks almost immediately on arrival.’
    • ‘A passenger whose baggage triggers an alarm might in turn be subject to intensive search procedures - and those are no laughing matter.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The basic case study entails the detailed and intensive analysis of a single case.’
    • ‘Over the course of 10 months, fellows participate in seven intensive sessions held in different cities.’
    • ‘‘This programme is a thorough and intensive course designed to produce a safe, confident and competent pilot,’ Xu said.’
    • ‘Security inside and outside the court was heavy with everyone entering the building scanned and subject to intensive searches.’
    • ‘She said the public would be consulted next year and there would be a thorough, intensive review.’
    • ‘She was subjected to an intensive combination of cytotoxic drugs and cranial radiotherapy.’
    thorough, in-depth, concentrated, rigorous, exhaustive, all-out, concerted, thoroughgoing
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    1. 1.1 (of agriculture) aiming to achieve the highest possible level of production within a limited area, especially by using chemical and technological aids.
      ‘intensive farming’
      Often contrasted with extensive (sense 2)
      • ‘The population, divided into a dozen chiefdoms and supported by intensive agriculture, soon rose to 15,000 or more.’
      • ‘The location of participation across the state, as expected, closely follows the areas of intensive commercial agricultural production.’
      • ‘This livestock disease is endemic in countries unable to afford intensive agriculture, yet has been absent from Europe for three decades.’
      • ‘Nor is a return to ‘primitive’ farming practices the only alternative to factory farming and highly intensive agriculture.’
      • ‘Many diversified from intensive agriculture to dairying.’
      • ‘There was an intensive agriculture linked to international markets through a key product: silk.’
      • ‘Like intensive power production, so intensive agriculture spares the landscape.’
      • ‘They are poor farmers who could never easily afford expensive chemicals used in intensive farming, going organic to boost their meagre incomes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After several centuries of intensive cultivation agricultural productivity had probably started to fall, living standards for most were declining, and population growth had ceased.’
      • ‘In Japan, intensive agriculture came in with migrants from the mainland about 2,300 years ago.’
      • ‘Although the food industry has been racked by crisis, Scottish ministers still favour intensive farming with chemicals.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Instead, due to less intensive agriculture, such plantations are confined to the areas around habitation and in some of the more accessible valleys.’
      • ‘BSE is a direct outcome of this intensive, highly concentrated model of beef production.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Cattle farming required a more intensive cultivation of fodder crops such as maize, potatoes, turnips, and mangels.’
      • ‘The report says highly intensive agriculture using herbicide tolerant GM crops may be very damaging to biodiversity.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Many wheat breeders were successful in breeding semi-dwarf, high-yielding varieties that were well adapted to intensive agriculture.’
    2. 1.2usually in combination (typically in business and economics) concentrating on or making much use of a specified thing.
      ‘computer-intensive methods’
      • ‘With a relatively small take-up of electronic accounts in Ireland, the private client business is highly labour intensive.’
      • ‘Rigorous and data intensive, ecological economics builds on the idea that natural resources are as valid a form of capital as oil rigs.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He should try to recognise the costs of implementing the minimum wage particularly on businesses in labour intensive industries such as the tourism industry.’
      • ‘They are considering relocating to Shanghai because high labour costs in this labour intensive business have eaten into their profits in Taiwan.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘These businesses are usually time intensive and they can have a tremendous impact on the franchisee's family life.’
      • ‘Opera is a hugely expensive business and very labour intensive.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It just doesn't work out economically, because the restaurant business has low profit margins and is so labor intensive.’
      • ‘‘The reality is the business is labour intensive and costs have gone through the roof in the past number of years,’ he said.’
      • ‘The United States was moving from an extensive economy to an intensive economy.’
      • ‘It is a labour intensive business, but Lisa says as they are getting more established and organized the workload seems to be lessening.’
      • ‘Which would you prefer, a capital intensive business with few people or a people intensive one with little capital?’
      • ‘Nick's business is so labour intensive it will never make a great deal of money.’
      • ‘These businesses are cost intensive and the margins are very low.’
      • ‘Capital intensive businesses, such as World Wide Technology, involve significant amounts of investment money before any possibility for earnings.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As a capital intensive business, the group has considered its options regarding flotation but intends to remain private for the foreseeable future.’
  • 2Grammar
    (of an adjective, adverb, or particle) expressing intensity; 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.

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


  • 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).