Decisive vs divisive

Photo of author


Decisive and divisive are two words that are pronounced and spelled similarly, but have different meanings. They are sometimes confused. We will examine the difference between the definitions of decisive and divisive, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Decisive means the ability to make a good decision quickly, or a situation in which a certain fact or occurrence makes the outcome a particular certainty. Decisive is an adjective, related forms are decisively and decisiveness. The word decisive is derived from the Latin decisivus, meaning determined.

Divisive describes something that causes disagreement, argument or hostility among a group of people. Something that is divisive divides people along social, political or national lines. The word divisive is an adjective, related forms are divisively, divisiveness. The word divisive is derived from the Latin divisivus, meaning divide.


“If we manage to kill Nasrallah in the next war, I would see that as reaching a decisive victory,” Maj. Gen. Yaakov Barak told reporters when asked what “decisive victory” meant. (Haaretz)

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez is worried that the Magpies’ lack of experience may prove to be decisive in the relegation battle. (Sports Illustrated)

Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” has become one of the most divisive films of the film awards season, but the backlash hasn’t seemed to stop its awards trajectory. (U.S. News & World Report)

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur today said he had bid adieu to the divisive cap culture in Himachal which signified a regional political divide between the people of the upper and lower Himachal in the Congress regime. (The Tribune)

Pope Francis backs down, OKs resignation of divisive Nigerian bishop (The Salt Lake Tribune)