adap·​tive | \ ə-ˈdap-tiv How to pronounce adaptive (audio) , a- \

Definition of adaptive

1 : providing, contributing to, or marked by adaptation : arising as a result of adaptation … left ventricular hypertrophy should not be considered solely an adaptive response to an increased ventricular workload.— Edward D. Frohlich et al. An effort to identify the healthy adaptive need that is being met by a patient's behavior can result in increased empathy for the patient.— Thomas O. Brackett specifically : of, relating to, or being a heritable trait that serves a specific function and improves an organism's fitness or survival Webbed feet is an adaptive trait in aquatic animals.
2a : designed or intended to assist disabled persons : assistive adaptive devices
b : engaged in by disabled persons with the aid of equipment or techniques adapted for a disability adaptive skiing
c : participating in a sport with the aid of equipment or techniques adapted for disability an adaptive skier

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Other Words from adaptive

adaptively adverb
adaptiveness noun
adaptivity \ ˌa-​ˌdap-​ˈti-​və-​tē How to pronounce adaptive (audio) \ noun

Examples of adaptive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The key outcome measure for the research was an exploration of the unmet need for adaptive equipment around the home to assist with activities like bathing and toileting. Gus Alexiou, Forbes, "Home Adaptations Keep People Out Of Care Facilities – Why Do Doctors Rarely Discuss Them?," 27 Apr. 2021 Our adaptive immune system, meanwhile, evolves over time. Emily Mullin, Smithsonian Magazine, "Experts Answer Eight Key Questions About Covid-19 Vaccine Reactions," 20 Apr. 2021 Calligraphy adds quilted leather seats, a panoramic roof, all the driver-assistance technology inattentive drivers crave including lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, and an adaptive cruise-control system. Annie White, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.5T Pushes Toward Luxury," 1 Apr. 2021 Paloma is the newest public park in metro Phoenix to offer adaptive equipment. Joshua Bowling, The Arizona Republic, "This new Peoria park is fully accessible for people with disabilities, as are these other Phoenix area parks," 24 Oct. 2020 Since the first Tri Challenge in 1994, CAF has raised more than $100 million for more than 23,000 individual grants to individuals for adaptive sports equipment, training and competition expenses. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "After 26 years, Challenged Athletes takes its annual Triathlon Challenge virtual," 6 Aug. 2020 The planned biking trail will be be beginner-friendly, youth-friendly and will have adaptive options for those who do not ride a traditional two-wheel bike. Briana Rice, The Enquirer, "Cincinnati Parks is planning a new mountain bike skills training trail in Mount Airy," 16 Apr. 2021 Aerodynamic tweaks include adaptive front cooling flaps and a bigger but lighter rear wing. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "2021 Porsche 911 turbo delivers legendary performance, latest tech," 15 Apr. 2021 For example, the parks will be introducing adaptive costumes to accommodate employees in wheelchairs. Arthur Levine, USA TODAY, "After rethinking racist rides, Disney parks extend inclusion push to cast members, add adaptive costumes," 14 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'adaptive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of adaptive

1760, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for adaptive

adapt + -ive

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Time Traveler for adaptive

Time Traveler

The first known use of adaptive was in 1760

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Statistics for adaptive

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Adaptive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for adaptive


adap·​tive | \ ə-ˈdap-tiv How to pronounce adaptive (audio) \

Medical Definition of adaptive

1 : capable of, suited to, or contributing to adaptation adaptive traits that enhance survival and diversification of species …Science News, 1 Feb. 1986
2a : used to assist a person with a disability in performing a certain task or activity : assistive Adaptive equipment might include Braille keyboards, voice synthesizers and adjustable-height computer tables.— Stuart Gordon, The Modesto (California) Bee, 15 Dec. 1995
b : engaged in by disabled persons with the aid of equipment or techniques adapted for a disability It is called wheelchair basketball, an adaptive sport for disabled people … — James Nix, The Independent Tribune (Concord, North Carolina), 17 Feb. 2010
c : participating in a sport with the aid of equipment or techniques adapted for a disability Ever seen those inspirational adaptive skiers cranking down the mountain in their ski chairs, or with a blind skier guide?— Moira McCarthy, The Boston Herald, 10 Jan. 2007

Other Words from adaptive

adaptively adverb
adaptiveness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on adaptive

Britannica English: Translation of adaptive for Arabic Speakers

Comments on adaptive

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