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[pruh-tek-tiv] /prəˈtɛk tɪv/
having the quality or function of protecting:
a protective covering.
tending to protect.
Economics. of, relating to, or designed to favor protectionism:
protective tariffs.
defensive (def 4).
Origin of protective
1655-65; protect + -ive
Related forms
protectively, adverb
protectiveness, noun
nonprotective, adjective
nonprotectively, adverb
semiprotective, adjective
semiprotectively, adverb
unprotective, adjective
unprotectively, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for protective
  • Remove the protective backing on the double-stick tape on the top edge and affix the film to it.
  • The price of oats is a better price than was to be had on the average of protective times.
  • Those gloves look only marginally protective, given those sweet little toenails on the kittens.
  • Tentlike protective structures are being erected in various parts of the city.
  • Anyone wishing to take this adventure back in time should come prepared, wearing suitable boots and protective gear.
  • There is only what seems to me a rather low protective barrier given the precipitous drop into the deep valleys below.
  • Next they cut down branches and use them to dam the stream so that water rises around the lodge, creating a protective moat.
  • They need to eat and they are extremely protective over their territory.
  • The activity involves placing individuals inside a protective cage submerged in shark-infested waters.
  • Mandel donned protective gloves and mask while on his book tour.
British Dictionary definitions for protective


giving or capable of giving protection
(economics) of, relating to, or intended for protection of domestic industries
something that protects
a condom
Derived Forms
protectively, adverb
protectiveness, 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
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Word Origin and History for protective

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
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