Definition of performative in English:

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Pronunciation: /pərˈfôrmədiv/


1Relating to or of the nature of dramatic or artistic performance: films which push past the limits of current performative trends teaching is a performative act
More example sentences
  • Exhibition spaces are increasingly transforming into performative spaces.
  • Artistic authorship itself, which emerged in the early fifteenth century as a purely performative mode, later learned to manipulate substitution.
  • Largely visual and performative, her work always includes her own body in a humorous and engaging way.
1.1Characterized by the performance of a social or cultural role: many feminist theorists have come to stress the contextual and performative aspects of gender
More example sentences
  • Since the 1970s, poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, and gender studies have contributed important models for exploring fashion as a cultural and performative expression of the female subject.
  • You'll find the fundamentals of Butler's argument that gender is performative.
  • Gender is seen as a “performative ritualized practice”.
1.2 Linguistics & Philosophy Relating to or denoting an utterance by means of which the speaker performs a particular act (e.g., I bet, I apologize, I promise). Often contrasted with constative. performative utterances do not merely describe what one is doing; to say the utterance is to do it
More example sentences
  • Rather, these are performative utterances, which do not so much say something as do something.
  • He thinks performative sentences do not have truth conditions because they do not describe or report anything.
  • But if literary language is performative and if a performative utterance is not true or false but felicitous or infelicitous, what does it mean for a literary utterance to be felicitous or infelicitous?


Linguistics & Philosophy
A performative verb, sentence, or utterance.
Example sentences
  • Performative utterances, or performatives, are not true or false and actually perform the action to which they refer.
  • Such speech acts, called performatives, cannot be said to be true or false.
  • Illocutionary acts, in addition to covering such explicit performatives as promising, also include statements.



Pronunciation: /pərˌfôrməˈtivitē/
Example sentences
  • From this situation evolved the essential dynamic of Chicano performativity: the dialectic of calling attention to the act of turning away.
  • They have become institutions measuring performativity in a very quantitative sense that favours the style of work of certain academics over others.
  • Music, because of its performativity, can powerfully shape the nation.
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