af·​fec·​tive a-ˈfek-tiv How to pronounce affective (audio)
: relating to, arising from, or influencing feelings or emotions : emotional
cognitive and affective symptoms
the novel's affective death scene
: expressing emotion
affective language
behaviors that elicit affective reactions
affectively adverb
affectivity noun

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Cognitive bias refers to one's thought processes (affective, which refers to the strength of an emotion or feeling toward something). Daniel Fallmann, Forbes, 14 June 2021 This affective collapse has destructive effects, which ripple in both directions. Helen Shaw, The New Yorker, 22 Oct. 2022 The first layer is strictly physiological, whereas the second is emotional, or affective. Matt Fitzgerald, Outside Online, 19 Jan. 2021 There is an ineluctable emotional stamp on the incipit of just about all of Brahms’ mature chamber works — the opening seconds set an affective tone that can last the entire piece. Lukas Schulze, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Aug. 2022 Physical pain has two basic parts: the sensory component (the physical sensation) and the affective component (the perception of unpleasantness). Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, 25 Aug. 2022 In this postwar landscape, Roberts suggests, citizenship may not have mattered as much as belonging—affective ties to community, family, and geography. Philip Deloria, The New Yorker, 18 July 2022 This position is airily remote from the affective texture of moral life, from the motivating complex of sentiments — whether admiration or abhorrence — that certain actions can produce. New York Times, 28 June 2022 Gradually, though, the music reveals affective echoes of the introduction, but these clarifying connections need to be nudged to the forefront, and Francis and all-stars were able to set the dramatic details of the first movement into relief. Lukas Schulze, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'affective.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English affectif, borrowed from Middle French, borrowed from Late Latin affectīvus, from Latin affectus, past participle of afficere "to produce an effect on, exert an influence on" + -īvus -ive — more at affect entry 1

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of affective was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near affective

Cite this Entry

“Affective.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Medical Definition



af·​fec·​tive a-ˈfek-tiv How to pronounce affective (audio)
: relating to, arising from, or influencing feelings or emotions : emotional
affective symptoms
affectively adverb
affectivity noun
plural affectivities

More from Merriam-Webster on affective

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