non·​adap·​tive | \ ˌnän-ə-ˈdap-tiv How to pronounce nonadaptive (audio) , -a- \

Definition of nonadaptive

: not contributing to the fitness, performance, or survival of an organism or its parts : not arising by adaptation : not adaptive Organisms are integrated systems and adaptive change in one part can lead to nonadaptive modifications of other features …— Stephen Jay Gould nonadaptive behavior

Examples of nonadaptive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But what about when this guilt is based on actions taken in life-or-death situations—such as on the battlefield or in an emergency room—and is distinctly nonadaptive? Anna Harwood-gross, Scientific American, "Treating “Moral” Injuries," 24 Mar. 2020 Even prior to this study, the two concepts — adaptation versus exaptation (drawn from nonadaptive traits or traits adapted for another purpose) — were difficult to separate. Quanta Magazine, "Evolution as Opportunist," 4 Sep. 2013

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

First Known Use of nonadaptive

1872, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about nonadaptive

Time Traveler for nonadaptive Time Traveler

The first known use of nonadaptive was in 1872

See more words from the same year

Statistics for nonadaptive

Cite this Entry

“Nonadaptive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for nonadaptive


non·​adap·​tive | \ ˌnän-ə-ˈdap-tiv, -a-ˈ How to pronounce nonadaptive (audio) \

Medical Definition of nonadaptive

: not serving to adapt the individual to the environment nonadaptive traits
Comments on nonadaptive

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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