Proactive vs Preventive - What's the difference?

proactive | preventive |

As adjectives the difference between proactive and preventive

is that proactive is acting in advance to deal with an expected change or difficulty while preventive is .



(en adjective)
  • Acting in advance to deal with an expected change or difficulty
  • We can deal with each problem as it pops up, or we can take a proactive stance and try to prevent future problems.

    Usage notes

    Some consider proactive to be a buzzword, and it is associated with business-speak.The good grammar guide, by Richard Palmer, 2003, p. 157 Depending on use, alternatives include active, or “show initiative” instead of “be proactive ”.


    * anticipatory * forward-looking


    * reactive

    Derived terms

    * proactively * proactivity * proactiveness


    * The Word Detective, Issue of February 5, 2001 ----




    (en adjective)
  • Preventing, hindering, or acting as an obstacle to.
  • Carried out to deter military aggression.
  • Slowing the development of an illness; prophylactic.
  • * Sir Thomas Browne
  • Physic is either curative or preventive .
  • (obsolete) Going before; preceding.
  • * Cudworth
  • Any previous counsel or preventive understanding.


    (en noun)
  • (dated) A thing that prevents, hinders, or acts as an obstacle to.
  • * 1856 , Henry William Herbert, The Complete Manual for Young Sportsmen
  • Dogs should be warmly but airily housed; heartily, but not heatingly, fed — old Indian meal, mixed with oatmeal, suppawn, is the best general food, with a small quantity of salt, which is a preventive against worms
  • (nonstandard) A thing that slows the development of an illness.
  • A contraceptive, especially a condom.
  • Alternative forms

    * preventative

    Usage notes

    * Many speakers prefer to use preventive'' in adjective senses and ''preventative in noun senses.[
  • preventive]
  • ----