per·​for·​ma·​tive | \ pər-ˈfȯr-mə-tiv How to pronounce performative (audio) , pə- \

Definition of performative

: being or relating to an expression that serves to effect a transaction or that constitutes the performance of the specified act by virtue of its utterance a performative verb such as promise — compare constative

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Other Words from performative

performative noun

Examples of performative in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That doesn’t mean readers shouldn’t endure that toll, especially privileged white readers, but sometimes that endurance can become performative. Washington Post, "In ‘Such a Fun Age,’ Kiley Reid takes aim at race and class in America," 7 Jan. 2020 An office wrestling match between two other security workers becomes a hilarious sendup of Israeli militarism, dripping with performative machismo. Justin Chang,, "‘Synonyms’ at Gene Siskel Film Center: When in France, do as the Israeli commandos-turned-nude Parisian models do," 5 Dec. 2019 His studio on Slauson Avenue became a meeting place for black artists, many of whom were interested in performative processes and sculptural forms derived from African traditions. Calvin Tomkins, The New Yorker, "David Hammons Follows His Own Rules," 2 Dec. 2019 In light of the book by Stanford professor and Internet Archive artist-in-residence Jenny Odell, that means avoiding doing things simply to be performative, to piggyback off others, fuel the echo chamber, or log face time at work. Rachel King, Fortune, "The 10 Best Business Books of 2019," 1 Dec. 2019 It’s hard to just create performative art out of the blue. Randy Dotinga, The Christian Science Monitor, "Scripture as an art form? Q&A with Karen Armstrong.," 22 Nov. 2019 That has engendered a feeling among some that, because the medium rewards performative outrage, the chase for YouTube hits incentivizes guests to be more extreme in their views. Rory Smith, New York Times, "For Fans, by Fans, Against the Club," 29 Nov. 2019 However performative, the threat of a lawsuit did play well among crypto stans on social media. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Crypto Needs Journalists More Than It Wants to Admit," 27 Nov. 2019 Kernaghan likes for her style to set the tone for the class: casual, unexpected, and not overly performative. Jenna Sauers, Harper's BAZAAR, "These Three Women Are Redefining What It Means to Be a Leader," 20 Nov. 2019

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

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First Known Use of performative

1922, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for performative

Time Traveler

The first known use of performative was in 1922

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Statistics for performative

Last Updated

26 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Performative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.

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