Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Acting in advance to deal with an expected difficulty; anticipatory: proactive steps to prevent terrorism.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Acting in advance to deal with an expected change or difficulty

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. (of a policy or person or action) controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than waiting to respond to it after it happens
  • adj. descriptive of any event or stimulus or process that has an effect on events or stimuli or processes that occur subsequently

Etymologies

pro- +‎ active; originally coined 1933 by Paul Whiteley and Gerald Blankfort in a psychology paper, used in technical sense.[2] Used in a popular context and sense (courage, perseverance) in 1946 book Man’s Search for Meaning by neuropsychiatrist Viktor Emil Frankl, in the context of dealing with the Holocaust, as contrast with reactive. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • So her campaign has been trying what it calls a proactive effort to fix problems with committee reports it filed with the State Board of Elections, performing a voluntary audit of her campaign finances and forfeiting donations that had a whiff of potential illegality.

    TheSunNews.com: Local

  • So her campaign has been trying what it calls a proactive effort to fix problems with committee reports it filed with the State Board of Elections, performing a yearlong voluntary audit of her campaign finances and forfeiting donations that had a whiff of potential illegality.

    WRAL.com Top Stories

  • Cayman Airways has introduced what it describes as a proactive operational cost-saving measure to help keep airfares as low as possible for customers.

    Cayman Net News Daily Headlines

  • This characterization of Vitter being "proactive" is reminiscent of the initial reports when Vitter first disclosed his links to the D.C. Madam.

    Archive 2007-07-01

  • This sort of content, the sort that helps people to be proactive, is rare but necessary.

    Current Movie Reviews, Independent Movies - Film Threat

  • Apparently the word proactive to Dennis Hastert means wait eleven months then act as soon as you are caught by the media.www. john06.com

    Laesch Calls for Hastert's Resignation

  • They have presented a declaration of 12,000 pages that did not provide any new evidence, and they need to be active, not to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the word proactive, in order to convince the Security Council through us that they do not have any more weapons of mass destruction, or else if they are there, that they deliver them so that they can be destroyed under our supervision.

    CNN Transcript Jan 16, 2003

  • Det Supt Essie Adair, the officer in charge of the operation, said: "This has been a successful overt stage of a long-term proactive investigation involving the PSNI and partner agencies against an organised crime gang which we believe was importing drugs into Northern Ireland."

    Rocket News

  • "This has been a successful overt stage of a long-term proactive investigation involving the PSNI and partner agencies against an organised crime gang which we believe was importing drugs into Northern Ireland."

    icNewcastle

  • You may have what researchers call proactive interference, where old information gets in the way of the new.

    msnbc.com: Top msnbc.com headlines

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