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See more synonyms for counterproductive on Thesaurus.com
  1. thwarting the achievement of an intended goal; tending to defeat one's purpose: Living on credit while trying to save money is counterproductive.
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Origin of counterproductive

First recorded in 1960–65; counter- + productive
Related formscoun·ter·pro·duc·tive·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for counterproductive

inimical, biased, discriminatory, unjust, hurtful, bigoted, detrimental, disadvantageous, unfavorable, injurious, damaging, counterproductive, fruitless, worthless, stupid, impractical, inoperative, ineffectual, unworkable, meaningless

Examples from the Web for counterproductive

Contemporary Examples of counterproductive

Historical Examples of counterproductive

  • Idealizing all these possibilities would be as counterproductive as demonizing literacy-based practical experiences.

  • The leadership in Bulgaria, as did those in other Eastern European countries, learned that repression was counterproductive.

    Area Handbook for Bulgaria

    Eugene K. Keefe, Violeta D. Baluyut, William Giloane, Anne K. Long, James M. Moore, and Neda A. Walpole

British Dictionary definitions for counterproductive


  1. tending to hinder or act against the achievement of an aim
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for counterproductive


also counter-productive, counter productive, 1920, American English, from counter- + productive.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper