coun·​ter·​pro·​duc·​tive | \ ˌkau̇n-tər-prə-ˈdək-tiv How to pronounce counterproductive (audio) \

Definition of counterproductive

: tending to hinder the attainment of a desired goal violence as a means to achieve an end is counterproductive— W. 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 The conception of law enforcement as only ever counterproductive in dealing with homelessness is misleading. Stephen Eide, National Review, 16 June 2022 Once insulted or attacked - the ego works fast - often triggering a counterproductive response. Kwame Christian, Forbes, 27 Apr. 2022 Their accession would be another example of the counterproductive results of Mr. Putin’s war. New York Times, 13 Apr. 2022 Granting asylum to Russians who sever their ties with Russia would reverse the counterproductive effects of sanctions. Alex Garcia, WSJ, 17 Mar. 2022 In a conflict that may never have a decisive end, that risks boxing the US into inflexible, counterproductive positions. Samuel Goldman, The Week, 7 Mar. 2022 This can turn out to be a totally counterproductive strategy. Jessica Dulong, CNN, 25 Jan. 2022 It was also seen as counterproductive to try to root out leftists, since so many of the scientists—Jewish refugees or survivors of the Great Depression—had leftist sympathies. Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker, 5 Jan. 2022 Walker only needs to think back to the 2019 trade deadline to support his opinion that getting caught up in trade rumors can be counterproductive. Nick Piecoro, The Arizona Republic, 15 July 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of counterproductive

1959, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of counterproductive was in 1959

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Last Updated

3 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Counterproductive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on counterproductive

Nglish: Translation of counterproductive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of counterproductive for Arabic Speakers


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