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 adaptivity (audio) \ noun

Examples of adaptive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Lahita described two types of immune responses when the body is infected with a virus: the innate and the adaptive. Nicole Brown, CBS News, "What we know — and don't know — about immunity to the coronavirus," 1 May 2020 As with many adaptive-cruise-control systems, once stopped, a tap of the cruise-control stalk (which, in the Model 3, is also the shift lever) or gas pedal is required to accelerate again. Dave Vanderwerp, Car and Driver, "Tesla Update Includes Automatic Slowing for Stop Signs, Lights (Even Green Ones)," 30 Apr. 2020 This Sceptre monitor has a 75Hz refresh rate and adaptive sync technology, which promotes gameplay without image lagging or stuttering. Popular Science, "High-end computer monitors for a greater display," 23 Apr. 2020 Experts advise employees with job security to be adaptive to change, and those who’ve lost jobs to make use of the opportunity. Niharika Sharma, Quartz India, "Coronavirus crisis triggers layoffs, pay cuts, and hiring freeze across Indian industries," 16 Apr. 2020 There may be many unanswered questions about how our bodies fight off SARS-CoV-2 infection, but one broader point is very clear: adaptive immunity is not an on/off switch. Christie Aschwanden, Wired, "Sorry, Immunity to Covid-19 Won't Be Like a Superpower," 16 Apr. 2020 But the first large wave of COVID-19 survivors, likely to be endowed with a power known to infectious disease specialists as adaptive immunity, is emerging. Amy Harmon,, "After coronavirus, survivors’ symptoms include relief — and guilt," 11 Apr. 2020 Our bodies’ immune systems are broken down into two different categories, innate and adaptive. Claire Maldarelli, Popular Science, "Is it possible to boost your immune system?," 7 Apr. 2020 Governance has to be adaptive to the changing climate of the family and needs of the business. Katherine Dunn, Fortune, "‘Family culture is like a pickle jar:’ What happens when a family business expert analyzes the #Megxit royal family drama," 17 Jan. 2020

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

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Adaptive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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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

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