reactive

adjective

re·​ac·​tive rē-ˈak-tiv How to pronounce reactive (audio)
1
: of, relating to, or marked by reaction or reactance
2
a
: readily responsive to a stimulus
b
: occurring as a result of stress or emotional upset
reactive depression
reactively adverb
reactiveness noun

Example Sentences

The government's response to the problem was reactive rather than proactive.
Recent Examples on the Web Having both a set process for approving curriculum and a process for reviewing concerns will allow districts to be both proactive and reactive, according to the audit. Courtney Tanner, The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 Oct. 2022 All team members can spend their days being thoughtfully proactive rather than haphazardly reactive. Maura Thomas, Forbes, 14 Apr. 2022 NOx emissions also produce a highly reactive gas called nitrogen dioxide, which is associated with the development of new cases of asthma among children. Arianna Skibell, Scientific American, 8 June 2022 Like in a fusion reactor, the reactive gas is contained by a magnetic field. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 11 June 2020 Counselor Yesenia Ceballos said staff knew the students were hurting and felt their responses were reactive without getting at the root of problems. Paloma Esquivelstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 1 Sep. 2022 Dabate, who took the stand in his own defense during his five-week trial, was often reactive as his wife’s family begged the judge to sentence him to a life behind bars. Taylor Hartz, Hartford Courant, 18 Aug. 2022 These efforts, however, are reactive—cooperating with police investigations after an attack. Ashley Belanger, Ars Technica, 16 Aug. 2022 Security is reactive: IT teams may be burdened to support legacy solutions while supporting these expansions. Sundaram Lakshmanan, Forbes, 24 June 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1717, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of reactive was in 1717

Dictionary Entries Near reactive

Cite this Entry

“Reactive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reactive. Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

reactive

adjective

re·​ac·​tive rē-ˈak-tiv How to pronounce reactive (audio)
1
: of or relating to reaction
2
: reacting or tending to react
reactively adverb
reactiveness noun
reactivity noun

Medical Definition

reactive

adjective

re·​ac·​tive rē-ˈak-tiv How to pronounce reactive (audio)
1
a
: of, relating to, or marked by reaction
reactive symptoms
a reactive process
b
: capable of reacting chemically
highly reactive materials
2
a
: readily responsive to a stimulus
the skin of the geriatric is less reactive than that of younger persons Louis Tuft
b
: occurring as a result of stress or emotional upset especially from factors outside the organism
reactive depression

More from Merriam-Webster on reactive

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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