performative utterance

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Coined by philosopher J. L. Austin (1911-1960).

Noun[edit]

performative utterance (plural performative utterances)

  1. (philosophy, linguistics) A sentence or other linguistic expression which, when expressed in an appropriate context, actually does or accomplishes something.
    Famous examples of performative utterances are "I now pronounce you husband and wife" (when uttered by the authorized officiator during a marriage ceremony) or "You're fired!" (when exclaimed by an employer terminating a person's employment).

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