And apparently "devise" and "divide" are etymologically kissing cousins. Just the same, with all due respect to the OED, I'm thinking that in most people's minds "divisive" means what the OED lists as meaning #2. I'm reminded that "objective" and "subjective" at one time meant what each other now means. Using them that way today would be, perhaps, divisive. And even the OED lists no "devisive." At 12:05 PM 9/26/2006, you wrote: >Carroll said > > > To be devisive is > > to set people who (allegedly) should be friends at enmity with each > > other. > >Although that's pretty much what I think of when I hear the word divisive, I >was interested to find that the OED Online gives, as the first definition of >"divisive*," the following: > >"having the quality or function of dividing; causing or expressing division >or distribution; making or perceiving distinctions, analytical." > > >To me, that actually seems fairly close to what Diane means; I think she;s >saying that Eliot's poetry has "the quality or function or dividing" man >from god, or it "makes or perceives distinctions" between those metaphysical >parties. > >The meaning Carroll refers to is given second: "Producing or tending to >division, disunion, dissension, or discord." > >Brian > >*The OED Online gives no results for "devisive."