of, relating to, or characterized by maladaptation or incomplete, inadequate, or faulty adaptation: The maladaptive behavior of isolated children was difficult to change.

Origin of maladaptive

First recorded in 1930–35; mal- + adaptive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for maladaptive

maladjusted, unfit, defective, dysfunctional, flawed, unstable, abnormal

Examples from the Web for maladaptive

Contemporary Examples of maladaptive

  • Humans can also respond to perceived threats in maladaptive ways that decrease our well-being and even jeopardize survival.

British Dictionary definitions for maladaptive



unsuitably adapted or adapting poorly to (a situation, purpose, etc)
not encouraging adaptation
Derived Formsmaladapted, adjectivemaladaptively, adverb
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 maladaptive

1912, from mal- + adaptive (see adapt).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper