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 response activates the adaptive immune system, which takes a slower but more tactical approach: activating and training B cells, which make antibodies, and T cells, which help coordinate future attacks. Stephani Sutherland, Scientific American, "If You Don’t Have COVID Vaccine Side Effects, Are You Still Protected?," 1 Apr. 2021 When Glenbrook High School District 225 returned to in-person instruction in January, following an adaptive pause around the holidays, the schools implemented a weekly testing program for students and staff. Kaitlin Edquist,, "First months of COVID-19 testing program at Glenbrook high schools show positivity rates under 1%," 9 Mar. 2021 Standard specification includes six-pot calipers at the front, huge 18-inch brake discs, and an adaptive suspension. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, "Cupra Formentor VZ5 Is the Audi RS3’s Spanish Crossover Cousin," 22 Feb. 2021 There will be a comfortable cruising mode that operates in near silence for maximum efficiency, as well as a dynamic performance mode that uses an adaptive suspension and four-wheel steering to attack curving roads. Ryan Zummallen, Star Tribune, "Edmunds: Top automotive tech at CES 2021," 20 Jan. 2021 Characteristically crisp styling should be accompanied by equally crisp handling, thanks to an adaptive suspension and an 82-kWh battery pack that will generate 302 horsepower and push the car to 60 mph in a respectable 6.3 seconds. Eric Adams, Popular Mechanics, "The Most Anticipated Cars of 2021," 7 Dec. 2020 The adaptive air suspension can raise up an extra 6 inches (149mm) to help with boulders or streams. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "American excess is back with the 1,000hp 2022 GMC Hummer EV truck," 21 Oct. 2020 The hybrid mattress is designed with body-contouring memory foam and an adaptive coil base that conforms to the curves of your body and minimizes strain on your pressure points. Korin Miller, Forbes, "The 9 Best Mattresses For Side Sleepers Combine Comfort And Support," 20 Mar. 2021 Work began in 2019 on Mercantile on Morris, an adaptive reuse project which includes a pedestrian plaza, residential condos and restaurant and retail space. William Thornton |, al, "Mercantile on Morris commercial plaza set to open in April," 19 Mar. 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

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Adaptive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 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

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