See more synonyms for maladaptive on
  1. 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. 2018

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


  1. unsuitably adapted or adapting poorly to (a situation, purpose, etc)
  2. 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