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

Both studies noted that more research needs to be done before scientists can outline the potential impact plastic might have on bees, but the nest building shows that bees are highly adaptive to changing environments. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "Wild bees are building their homes from plastic—and scientists aren’t sure why," 5 June 2019 But natural selection doesn’t place bets on traits that might be adaptive someday. Quanta Magazine, "Fragile DNA Enables New Adaptations to Evolve Quickly," 5 Feb. 2019 Para-sports, also known as adaptive sports and disabled sports, includes activities for people with physical and intellectual disabilities. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Nike adds mannequins for plus-sized and para-sport athletes to its flagship store," 7 June 2019 Some, such as the Mogollon Monster 100, accept other kinds of volunteerism, such as working with youth running programs or adaptive sports programs. Stephanie Case, Outside Online, "A Response from a Proud “Lazy Parasite” Trail Runner," 4 June 2019 The remaining spring 2019 teacher grants include: • Speech and hearing specialist Connie Obrycki received $1,143 for a 12-week Mayer Middle School and Fairview High School adaptive theatre class for students with moderate to severe disabilities. John Benson,, "Fairview Park Education Foundation awards grants, including enhanced summer reading program," 3 June 2019 Both of these F Sport models will have adaptive dampers. Joey Capparella, Car and Driver, "2020 Lexus RX Sharpens Its Look and Purports to Fix Its Infotainment Issues," 30 May 2019 Even Harry's recent engagements have often been tied to causes close to his heart, like the Invictus Games, an adaptive sporting competition for veterans, or the OXSRAD Sports and Leisure Centre, which his mother Princess Diana opened 30 years ago. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Why Meghan Markle Isn't at Ella Windsor's Wedding, But Prince Harry Is," 18 May 2019 That base price is notable because a 1996 Supra Turbo was $50,500—in 1996 dollars, which equates to about $82,000 today—and all the key performance parts (e-diff, adaptive dampers, forged wheels) are standard. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "With the 2020 GR Supra, Toyota Gets In Touch With Its Fun Side," 12 May 2019

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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Statistics for adaptive

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for adaptive

The first known use of adaptive was in 1760

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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

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