1. proceeding to a conclusion by reason or argument rather than intuition
  2. (of e.g. speech and writing) tending to depart from the main point or cover a wide range of subjects; “amusingly digressive with satirical thrusts at women’s fashions among other things”; “a rambling discursive book”; “his excursive remarks”; “a rambling speech about this and that”
  1. digressing from subject to subject students often write dull, secondhand, discursive prose

Literature (of a style of speech or writing) fluent and expansive rather than formulaic or abbreviated the short story is concentrated, whereas the novel is discursive

  1. Linguistics relating to discourse or modes of discourse the attempt to transform utterances from one discursive context to another

  2. Philosophy Archaic proceeding by argument or reasoning rather than by intuition.


late 16th century: from medieval Latin discursivus, from Latin discurs-, literally ‘gone hastily to and fro’, from the verb discurrere (see discourse)