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 protectiveness

Contemporary Examples of protectiveness

Historical Examples of protectiveness

  • 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.

  • 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.


    Elisabeth von Arnim

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 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 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