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

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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 In an office space, a mishmash of signs, floor markers and plexiglass shields would tend either to be ignored, offer a false sense of security or be anxiety-provoking and counterproductive. Lorraine Mirabella, Washington Post, "After shutdowns in Maryland, offices reemerge with changes," 4 July 2020 Buscaino, in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Daily News on Monday, defended the LAPD and argued that cutting its budget would be counterproductive. Fox News, "LA City Council approves cutting $150M from LAPD," 2 July 2020 Removing this episode is weird, counterproductive and stupid. Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, "Hulu removes ‘Golden Girls’ episode over blackface concerns: reports," 29 June 2020 More importantly, the tweet’s subtext is harmful and counterproductive to the current racial justice movement – a movement that the USSSA Pride fully supports and stands behind. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Haylie McCleney among pro softball players upset about team’s anthem tweet," 23 June 2020 The political vision now being articulated has become a rebuke to those who say these protests are aimless or counterproductive. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, "The Rush to Redefine “Defund the Police”," 9 June 2020 Curfews are especially counterproductive in the midst of mostly peaceful protests, as people are gathering to make a political point. Aarian Marshall, Wired, "Curfews Can Quell Violence—but Also Spark More Protests," 4 June 2020 Nor is violent protest necessarily senseless or counterproductive for protester demands. Mary Hui, Quartz, "Why extreme actions shouldn’t delegitimize a protest," 3 June 2020 Brooks, however, said it’s a strategy is likely to be counterproductive, and violates First Amendment rights to free speech. Megan Cassidy,, "Clothes. Electronics. Sports cars. Looters wreak havoc on Bay Area as police struggle to keep pace," 2 June 2020

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.

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First Known Use of counterproductive

1959, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for counterproductive

Time Traveler

The first known use of counterproductive was in 1959

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Statistics for counterproductive

Last Updated

9 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Counterproductive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for counterproductive


How to pronounce counterproductive (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of counterproductive

: not helpful : making the thing you want to happen less likely to happen

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