Politics and religion are both examples of subjects that would be described as divisive.
Origin of divisiveLate Latin divisivus
Usage Note: The word divisive is usually pronounced in both American and British English as (dĭ-vī′sĭv), 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.
(comparative more divisive, superlative most divisive)
- Having a quality that divides or separates
- Rather than fostering unity, he becomes divisive.