What is the difference between “affectionate” and “demonstrative”?

According to Cambridge dictionary,”affectionate” means:showing feelings of liking or love.

And “demonstrative”: showing your feelings or behave in a way that shows your love.

To me the words seem to have the same meaning,but I have seen both of them being used in the same sentence like:

(My husband has always been very affectionate and demonstrative.)

So,is there a difference between the two words? Or do they mean the same?

  • Look in Lexico. 'Readily feeling or showing fondness or tenderness ...' so demonstrative does not overlap with the first [sub]sense. Jan 29, 2022 at 16:38

1 Answer 1


I think "demonstrative" covers more than positive feelings.

"He was a very demonstrative individual, such that you feel his judgement as palpable disdain."

Oxford: showing feelings openly, especially feelings of love. ( https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/demonstrative_1 )

As it says "especially" it is a reasonable interpretation that it is not "exclusively."

By contrast, "affectionate" is exclusively positive.

Other dictionaries have variations on "demonstrating as real."

So, I think there is an additional distinction that demonstrative inherently includes some activeness, the "demonstration" component. Whereas one could write an "affectionate" letter where the positive feeling is purely from context and implication, no active-ness required.

  • Thank you so much!
    – Manar
    Sep 6, 2020 at 3:10
  • You can be affectionate towards someone you care about by speaking warmly to them or offering acts of kindness. If you are demonstrative towards someone you love, you often hug them in public, hold their hand etc. Sep 6, 2020 at 7:48

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