The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms - Ross Murfin 2018
Performative: A term used in opposition to constative by British “ordinary language” philosopher John Austin in How to Do Things with Words (1962) to distinguish between two classes of locutions. According to Austin, performative locutions are sentences that actively “do” something, such as question or admonish, whereas constative locutions are sentences that state something that can be determined to be true or false. Having established these two types of locutions, Austin went on to show that they are not mutually exclusive, that is, that a sentence can involve both elements simultaneously.
EXAMPLES: An example of a performative is the statement, “Don’t touch that cookie jar!” whereas a related constative is “He didn’t touch that cookie jar.”