Intensive describes things that are extreme, highly dramatic, or just plain thorough. An intensive chemistry course meets six days a week for five hours a day. If you're in intensive care, you're getting close medical scrutiny, 24/7.

Intensive is intense, which comes from the Latin for “high strung,” plus –ive, meaning “having the qualities of.” It’s an adjective that cranks up whatever it modifies. Doing too many intensive activities can make you high strung indeed, like taking that intensive chemistry class or participating in an intensive study on the effects of sleeplessness by staying awake for four days straight. That might get you put in intensive care.

Definitions of intensive
  1. adjective
    characterized by a high degree or intensity; often used as a combining form
    “the questioning was intensive
    intensive care”
    “research- intensive
    “a labor- intensive industry”
    possessing or displaying a distinctive feature to a heightened degree
  2. adjective
    of agriculture; intended to increase productivity of a fixed area by expending more capital and labor
    intensive agriculture”
    intensive conditions”
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    of agriculture; increasing productivity by using large areas with minimal outlay and labor
  3. noun
    a modifier that has little meaning except to intensify the meaning it modifies
    synonyms: intensifier
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    type of:
    modifier, qualifier
    a content word that qualifies the meaning of a noun or verb
  4. adjective
    tending to give force or emphasis
    “an intensive adverb”
Commonly confused words

intense / intensive / intent

If your teacher offered you a choice between an intense course or an intensive one, which one would you choose? And would you wonder what his intent was?

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