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[pruh-tek-tiv] /prəˈtɛk tɪv/
having the quality or function of protecting:
a protective covering.
tending to protect.
Economics. of, relating to, or designed to favor protectionism:
protective tariffs.
defensive (def 4).
Origin of protective
First recorded in 1655-65; protect + -ive
Related forms
protectively, adverb
protectiveness, noun
nonprotective, adjective
nonprotectively, adverb
semiprotective, adjective
semiprotectively, adverb
unprotective, adjective
unprotectively, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for protectiveness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The staggering fact increased her virginal charm and its protectiveness.

    The Roll-Call Arnold Bennett
  • If he had entered with a pistol in his hand he would scarcely have disturbed her trust in his protectiveness.

  • Anna's youth, her fervor, and her remarkable ability drew out all of Susan's motherly instincts of affection and protectiveness.

    Susan B. Anthony Alma Lutz
  • But women are afraid to marry the extreme type even when the feeling he prompts is more than mere protectiveness.

    How to Analyze People on Sight

    Elsie Lincoln Benedict and Ralph Paine Benedict
  • To the passion of love was added, by their attitudes, the passion of protectiveness, of flinging her body between him and them.

    Vera Elisabeth von Arnim
  • Len felt part of his irritation spilling over into protectiveness.

    Special Delivery Damon Francis Knight
  • His first impressions of Charity had ranged from contempt, through curiosity, to protectiveness and affection.

    We Can't Have Everything Rupert Hughes
  • Here was the Great American Pumess at bay, and suddenly splendid in her attitude of protectiveness.

    The Clarion Samuel Hopkins Adams
British Dictionary definitions for protectiveness


giving or capable of giving protection
(economics) of, relating to, or intended for protection of domestic industries
something that protects
a condom
Derived Forms
protectively, adverb
protectiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for protectiveness



1660s, from protect + -ive. As a noun from 1875. Related: Protectively; protectiveness. Protective custody is from 1933, translating German Schutzhaft, used cynically by the Nazis.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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