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Adjective. Tending to cause disagreement or discord.

It certainly causes disagreement and discord with me! With Bush as Texas Governor and then President, I’m used to mispronunciation of words in his speeches, but since Obama’s words are usually so eloquent, his pronunciation of “divisive” in his speech on race in America weeks ago as though it were “divissive” caught my attention. I didn’t mention it then and thought perhaps he just misspoke, but he repeated it within the same speech and since at other times. Just now, watching MSNBC Live, news correspondent Andrea Mitchell pronounced “divisiveness” the same way! Thinking maybe I’ve been mispronouncing variations of this word my entire life, I checked my online dictionary pronunciation guides, including any available audio. Even British audio indicates a long i sound, and only Merriam-Webster offers the alternate “short i” pronunciation as though the word were spelled “divissive.”

Will public speakers all be afraid to sound stupid now if they don’t adopt this alternate, but less popular pronunciation? I’m “dividded” on this issue. You’ve let me down, Webster.

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