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See more synonyms for proactive on Thesaurus.com
  1. serving to prepare for, intervene in, or control an expected occurrence or situation, especially a negative or difficult one; anticipatory: proactive measures against crime.
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Origin of proactive

First recorded in 1930–35; pro-1 + active
Related formspro·ac·tive, nounpro·ac·tiv·i·ty, pro·ac·tive·ness, nounpro·ac·tive·ly, adverb
Can be confusedproactive reactionary reactive
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for proactive

aggressive, anxious, ardent, dedicated, eager, energetic, enthused, enthusiastic, excited, fanatical, intense, lively, passionate, spirited, zealous, banzai, can-do, proactive, take-charge

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Contemporary Examples of proactive

Historical Examples of proactive

British Dictionary definitions for proactive


  1. tending to initiate change rather than reacting to events
  2. psychol of or denoting a mental process that affects a subsequent process
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Word Origin for proactive

C20: from pro- ² + (re) active
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 proactive


also pro-active, of persons or policies, as an opposition to reactive, 1921, from pro- + active. From 1933, in psychology (learning theory). Related: Proactively; proactiveness; proactivity.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper