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

Definition of unproductive

: not effective in bringing something about : not yielding results, benefits, or profits : not productive unproductive meetings unproductive strategies unproductive workers

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Examples of unproductive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Those who just retired might feel a bit unproductive. Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY, "Relevant at 64? Seniors need to stay active to be healthy and avert loneliness," 10 May 2018 Perhaps the unproductive acquisitions of last offseason could yield something for the future? Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "Analysis: What does Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto mean about a ‘step back’ in 2019?," 21 Nov. 2018 Drastic last-minute moves on both fronts — moves that invoke contradictory themes — are confusing and likely unproductive from a foreign policy standpoint. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The cynical politics of John Bolton’s “Troika of Tyranny”," 1 Nov. 2018 Tight rules would mean fewer companies qualify for benefits and encourage economically unproductive tax avoidance. Richard Rubin, WSJ, "What’s a Service Business? That’s Now a Multibillion-Dollar Tax Question," 16 Oct. 2018 Still, there were signs of preparations for a long — if unproductive — night. Vivian Wang, New York Times, "As End of Legislative Session Nears, Ennui Wins the Day," 19 June 2018 Sheep are unproductive and their milk, ideal for cheese making, is a bit fatty for drinking. Mark Kurlansky, Time, "Why We've Been Fighting About Milk for 10,000 Years," 7 May 2018 Look, everybody is trying to do a good job, but people sometimes fall into patterns that are unproductive and not of much use to readers. Mick Lasalle, San Francisco Chronicle, "Bill Maher says reviews like ‘I Feel Pretty’ aren’t reviews. Do you agree?," 30 May 2018 Roskam, however, dismissed the traditional in-person format as unproductive and boasted of his ability to reach far more people via convenient telephone town halls, which are arranged by his campaign. Erin Hegarty, Naperville Sun, "Congressional town halls: Old-fashioned and inefficient or vital to the fabric of democracy?," 28 Apr. 2018

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

circa 1676, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

7 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for unproductive

The first known use of unproductive was circa 1676

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English Language Learners Definition of unproductive

: not giving good, steady, or useful results : not productive

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More from Merriam-Webster on unproductive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unproductive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unproductive

Spanish Central: Translation of unproductive

Nglish: Translation of unproductive for Spanish Speakers

Comments on unproductive

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


excited commotion or publicity

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