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di·vi·sive (dĭ-vīsĭv, -vĭs-ĭv)
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adj.
Creating dissension or discord.

di·visive·ly adv.
di·visive·ness n.

Usage Note: The word divisive is usually pronounced in both American and British English as (dĭ-vīsĭv), with the stressed syllable having a long i. This was the preferred pronunciation of 88 percent of the Usage Panel in our 2013 ballot. The pronunciation with a short i in the stressed syllable, rhyming with permissive, was acceptable to only 16 percent of the Panel in 2001 but has made inroads since then, to the point where it was deemed acceptable by 65 percent of the Panel in 2013. The long-i pronunciation conforms to the regular rules for pronouncing English spelling, which call for a long vowel before a consonant-vowel sequence (as in decisive, derisive, and incisive) and a short vowel before a doubled consonant (as in missive and permissive). Though still less favored than the pronunciation with a long i, the pronunciation with a short i is on the path to becoming an established variant pronunciation in American English.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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