pro·​duc·​tive | \ prə-ˈdək-tiv , prō-\

Definition of productive

1 : having the quality or power of producing especially in abundance productive fishing waters
2 : effective in bringing about investigating committees have been productive of much good— R. K. Carr
3a : yielding results, benefits, or profits
b : yielding or devoted to the satisfaction of wants or the creation of utilities
4 : continuing to be used in the formation of new words or constructions un- is a productive prefix
5 : raising mucus or sputum (as from the bronchi) a productive cough

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Other Words from productive

productively adverb
productiveness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for productive


constructive, formative


nonconstructive, nonproductive, unproductive

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Examples of productive in a Sentence

I had a very productive day. I am most productive in the morning. Some staff members are more productive than others.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Saturday’s discussion focused on what the White House says are urgent security needs at the southern border, according to an administration official, who said the talks were productive. Rebecca Ballhaus, WSJ, "White House Signals Flexibility on Concrete Border Wall," 6 Jan. 2019 Commercial setnetting in Bristol Bay was not always productive, and some fishermen made a little extra cash with night-time expeditions over the boundary lines. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "At Bristol Bay, there’s a changing of the guard at the boatyard," 7 July 2018 What Professor Kahan sees as more critical is understanding how some conversations can be productive while others turn people away. Amanda Paulson, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why these young Republicans see hope in climate action," 28 June 2018 Namako said the discussion of recent suicide coverage that circulated on social media was productive. NBC News, "News coverage of high-profile suicides sparks debate about journalism ethics," 9 June 2018 WR Michael Irvin: Widely credited as the heart and soul of the '90s dynasty, the fiery Hall of Famer was also highly productive. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "Where does Jason Witten rank among 15 greatest Dallas Cowboys players?," 10 May 2018 The concept of human domestication is too vague an idea at this time to be scientifically productive. John Hawks, WSJ, "‘The Goodness Paradox’ Review: The Benefits of Good Breeding," 25 Jan. 2019 With all of this going down before our eyes, plenty of onlookers jumped into the conversation — and the comments weren’t always productive. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Pete Davidson's Instagram Post About Mental Health Is a Reminder Not to Harass Celebs Online," 17 Dec. 2018 Compared to most fine wine grapes, grenache is uncommonly productive, giving the generous crops necessary to keep production costs low for bargain wines. Marnie Old,, "Great Wine Values: Famille Perrin Côtes-du-Rhône 'Réserve'," 19 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'productive.' 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 productive

1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

15 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for productive

The first known use of productive was in 1612

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More Definitions for productive



English Language Learners Definition of productive

: doing or achieving a lot : working hard and getting good results
: producing or able to produce something especially in large amounts
formal : causing or resulting in something


pro·​duc·​tive | \ prə-ˈdək-tiv \

Kids Definition of productive

1 : having the power to yield in large amounts productive soil
2 : producing well I'm most productive in the morning.


pro·​duc·​tive | \ prə-ˈdək-tiv, prō- \

Medical Definition of productive

: raising mucus or sputum (as from the bronchi) a productive cough

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Comments on productive

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


to deny responsibility for

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