having the quality or function of protecting: a protective covering.
tending to protect.
Economics. of, relating to, or designed to favor protectionism: protective tariffs.

Origin of protective

First recorded in 1655–65; protect + -ive
Related formspro·tec·tive·ly, adverbpro·tec·tive·ness, nounnon·pro·tec·tive, adjectivenon·pro·tec·tive·ly, adverbsem·i·pro·tec·tive, adjectivesem·i·pro·tec·tive·ly, adverbun·pro·tec·tive, adjectiveun·pro·tec·tive·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for protectively

Contemporary Examples of protectively

  • He protectively brought it back to his room, where he fed it banana and gently wrapped it in a warm cloth.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Our Visit From Irene

    India Hicks

    August 27, 2011

Historical Examples of protectively

  • At the sight of Sophia, Riccardo rushed to her, looming over her protectively.

  • In short, they are protectively designed, while the first class are attractive.

  • He almost wanted to put his arm about the woman's shoulders, protectively.


    Milton Lesser

  • She tended him so protectively that one might have thought her loving.


    Frank Swinnerton

  • The large majority of monkeys are protectively coloured with some shade of brown or grey, with specially marked faces.

British Dictionary definitions for protectively



giving or capable of giving protection
economics of, relating to, or intended for protection of domestic industries


something that protects
a condom
Derived Formsprotectively, adverbprotectiveness, 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

Word Origin and History for protectively



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