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performative

[ per-fawr-muh-tiv ]

adjective

  1. Philosophy, Linguistics. (of an expression or statement) performing an act by the very fact of being uttered, as with the expression “I promise,” that performs the act of promising. Compare constative ( def 1 ).
  2. relating to the performance of behaviors associated with a particular social role or identity:

    He reflects on his mother's performative femininity, remembering the times he witnessed her adorning herself with eyeshadow, bracelets, and belts.

  3. relating to ways of behaving that exhibit a socially acceptable belief, trait, or quality, often making a superficial impression:

    Performative wokeness enables privileged people to reap the social benefits of wokeness without actually undertaking the necessary legwork to combat inequality.



noun

  1. a performative utterance. Compare constative ( def 2 ).speech act ( def ).

performative

/ pəˈfɔːmətɪv /

adjective

    1. denoting an utterance that constitutes some act, esp the act described by the verb. For example, I confess that I was there is itself a confession, and so is performative in the narrower sense, while I'd like you to meet … (effecting an introduction) is performative only in the looser sense See also locutionary act illocution perlocution
    2. ( as noun )

      that sentence is a performative

    1. denoting a verb that may be used as the main verb in such an utterance
    2. ( as noun )

      ``promise'' is a performative



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Derived Forms

  • perˈformatively, adverb
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Word History and Origins

Origin of performative1

First recorded in 1950–55; perform + -ative
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Example Sentences

Conversations get more quickly to the essence, feel less performative and ritualized.

McIntyre stressed that it’s important to recognize allyship as “a behavior” and “something we work on every day” in the workplace, rather than “something performative” that people can claim to support without the actions to back it up.

From Fortune

This demonstrates that much of Facebook’s work in this area is performative, rather than effective.

Though I’m not a comedian or an actor or a musician, I gain a lot of wisdom from the conversations he has with entertainers and am able to relate it to the performative aspects of my work.

From Fortune

At worst, they’re performative oversimplifications of what makes a successful e-commerce business.

From Digiday

George and his brother Richard are the founders of Major League Eating, but George is the performative half of the duo.

It was a technical and performative dance and everyone needed to be on time and in time.

This, you could say, is the tension at the heart of much of the West's performative art.

Those are the only moments that are really performative, where someone else can enter your world….

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