coun·​ter·​pro·​duc·​tive ˌkau̇n-tər-prə-ˈdək-tiv How to pronounce counterproductive (audio)
: tending to hinder the attainment of a desired goal
violence as a means to achieve an end is counterproductiveW. E. Brock born 1930

Examples of counterproductive in a Sentence

His uncontrollable anger is very counterproductive to his attempt at saving his marriage. harsh disciplinary measures that prove to be counterproductive
Recent Examples on the Web Or the studios may throw their hands up and turn their attention to SAG-AFTRA, though such a move would probably be counterproductive. Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times, 29 Aug. 2023 Stewart, in a letter to employees Friday posted on a company website focused on negotiations, suggested that Fain’s approach was counterproductive. Jamie L. Lareau, USA TODAY, 14 Aug. 2023 England’s warehouse rave scene of the 1980s and ’90s, fueled by MDMA and born in part as a response to the unrestricted and discriminatory policing of parties, became a global phenomenon, despite violent and counterproductive attempts to restrict Molly’s circulation. Federico Perelmuter, Washington Post, 10 Aug. 2023 Critics say limiting advanced math has been counterproductive. Christopher Huffaker,, 14 July 2023 Combined with an awkward pace that lingers far too long on some story beats while skipping over others entirely, the effect is counterproductive. Alison Herman, Variety, 4 Aug. 2023 But the Aggies’ offensive coordinator in 2012, Kliff Kingsbury, told Netflix that the coaching staff essentially had to walk on eggshells around Manziel and that discipline would have been counterproductive. Brad Townsend, Dallas News, 4 Aug. 2023 Depending on your lifestyle and workout schedule, Ellis says, limiting carbs too much can be counterproductive. Greg Presto, Men's Health, 27 July 2023 But doing an employee engagement survey to alleviate that problem can be counterproductive. Bypeter Vanham, Fortune, 20 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'counterproductive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1959, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of counterproductive was in 1959

Dictionary Entries Near counterproductive

Cite this Entry

“Counterproductive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on counterproductive

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!