characterized by or pertaining to emotion: the emotive and rational capacities of humankind.
productive of or directed toward the emotions: Artistic distortion is often an emotive use of form.

Origin of emotive

First recorded in 1725–35; emot(ion) + -ive
Related formse·mo·tive·ly, adverbe·mo·tive·ness, e·mo·tiv·i·ty [ee-moh-tiv-i-tee, ih-moh-] /ˌi moʊˈtɪv ɪ ti, ɪ moʊ-/, nounhy·per·e·mo·tive, adjectivehy·per·e·mo·tive·ly, adverbhy·per·e·mo·tive·ness, nounhy·per·e·mo·tiv·i·ty, nounnon·e·mo·tive, adjectivenon·e·mo·tive·ly, adverbnon·e·mo·tive·ness, nounun·e·mo·tive, adjectiveun·e·mo·tive·ly, adverbun·e·mo·tive·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for emotive

Contemporary Examples of emotive

Historical Examples of emotive

  • Grimly they pursued the way, automaton-like, unresponsive now to horror or any emotive.

    The Beginning

    Henry Hasse

  • Yet he has an emotive temperament—a glance at his sympathetic eyes will prove it.


    James Huneker

  • Employ the emotive tone to convey ideas of your truthfulness and honor.

    Certain Success

    Norval A. Hawkins

  • Now my life was like a garden in the emotive torpor of spring; now my life was like a flower conscious of the light.

  • It is an emotive manifestation that stirs one's whole nature and vitalizes every part of the body.

    Vitality Supreme

    Bernarr Macfadden

British Dictionary definitions for emotive



tending or designed to arouse emotion
of or characterized by emotion
Derived Formsemotively, adverbemotiveness or emotivity, noun


Emotional is preferred to emotive when describing a display of emotion: he was given an emotional (not emotive) welcome
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

Word Origin and History for emotive

1735, "causing movement," from Latin emot-, past participle stem of emovere (see emotion) + -ive. Meaning "capable of emotion" is from 1881; that of "evoking emotions" is from 1923, originally in literary criticism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper