non·​pro·​duc·​tive ˌnän-prə-ˈdək-tiv How to pronounce nonproductive (audio)
: not productive: such as
: failing to produce or yield : unproductive
a nonproductive oil well
: not directly concerned with production
the nonproductive labor of clerks and inspectors
of a cough : dry sense 3a
nonproductiveness noun

Examples of nonproductive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Buoyed by the early promise of its Dravet therapeutic, the company developed a second drug candidate, STK-002, that similarly targets splicing to turn nonproductive gene transcripts into constructive ones. Elie Dolgin, Discover Magazine, 26 Apr. 2023 Remove all twiggy, dead or nonproductive growth. oregonlive, 8 Mar. 2022 But will this calculation include all the opportunity cost of the expenditure of nonproductive effort? WSJ, 16 Aug. 2022 In this framework, nonproductive bodies and ways of living become illegitimate in some way. John Patrick Leary, The New Republic, 6 Aug. 2021 Patients have what appear to be the typical symptoms of Covid-19: a nonproductive cough, chest tightness, and in some cases some mild gastrointestinal symptoms — usually nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Lisa Sanders, New York Times, 18 Mar. 2020 The highways will be crowded with hunters, but waiting until the following weekend of Oct. 26-27 might be nonproductive. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, 7 Oct. 2019 Tomatoes may grow through the summer, and a few, like cherry tomatoes, set a few fruits but most are nonproductive. Tom MacCubbin,, 7 July 2018 Buffett said cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are nonproductive assets similar to gold. Josh Funk,, 8 May 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nonproductive.' 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

1830, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nonproductive was in 1830

Dictionary Entries Near nonproductive

Cite this Entry

“Nonproductive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


non·​pro·​duc·​tive ˌnän-prə-ˈdək-tiv How to pronounce nonproductive (audio)
: failing to produce : unproductive
a nonproductive oil well
: not directly productive
nonproductive labor

Medical Definition


non·​pro·​duc·​tive -prə-ˈdək-tiv How to pronounce nonproductive (audio)
of a cough
: not effective in raising mucus or exudate from the respiratory tract : dry sense 2

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