- 1[only before noun] providing or intended to provide protection Workers should wear full protective clothing. a protective layer of varnish a protective barrier against the sun's rays
- 2 having or showing a wish to protect someone or something protective (toward somebody/something) She had been fiercely protective toward him as a teenager. protective (of somebody/something) He was extremely protective of his role as advisor. He put a protective arm around her shoulders.
- 3intended to give an advantage to your own country's industry protective tariffs
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adverb She clutched her bag protectively.
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