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

Given the scale of achievement, as well as academy graduates adding further depth, going out to spend money and sign players for the sake of it could even be counterproductive., "Jurgen Klopp Reiterates That Liverpool are Unlikely to Spend Big Despite Ongoing Transfer Rumours," 18 July 2019 But bitcoin advocates convinced US officials that this would be counterproductive. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "There’s a big problem with Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency," 11 July 2019 Cheung had reasoned with the protesters on Monday that storming the building would be counterproductive. Alice Su,, "Activists fear shattered glass may obscure demands of Hong Kong protest movement," 3 July 2019 Some administration officials have resisted such a meeting, viewing it as counterproductive at a time when Russia’s meddling during the 2016 American election and possible links to the Trump campaign are under scrutiny. New York Times, "Trump Seeks Meeting With Putin Even as Allies Seek to Isolate Russia," 21 June 2018 Any imposition of tariffs, without going first to the World Trade Organization, is sure to prompt a chorus of criticism not just from Beijing but from U.S. industry, which has opposed tariffs as counterproductive. Bob Davis, WSJ, "Trump to Ramp Up Trade Restraints on China," 20 Mar. 2018 To gratuitously label political opponents fascists and Nazis is not only politically counterproductive, but also minimizes the evil and horror of Nazism and the suffering of the millions of people who languished under that system. Karen Ann Cullotta,, "Chicago’s Jewish community split over Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s comparison of border detention to ‘concentration camps’," 24 June 2019 Placing too much importance on appearances can be counterproductive. Tribune Content Agency,, "Horoscope for June 21, 2019: Leo, summer sunshine sheds light on a mystery; Pisces, think long-term and permanent," 21 June 2019 These Hollywood movies about scientists can be somewhat counterproductive, too. Quanta Magazine, "In Mathematics, ‘You Cannot Be Lied To’," 21 Feb. 2017

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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Statistics for counterproductive

Last Updated

22 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for counterproductive

The first known use of counterproductive was in 1959

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More Definitions for counterproductive



English Language Learners Definition of counterproductive

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

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Comments on counterproductive

What made you want to look up counterproductive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something desired as essential

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