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See more synonyms for maladaptive on Thesaurus.com
  1. of, relating to, or characterized by maladaptation or incomplete, inadequate, or faulty adaptation: The maladaptive behavior of isolated children was difficult to change.
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Origin of maladaptive

First recorded in 1930–35; mal- + adaptive
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for maladaptive


  1. unsuitably adapted or adapting poorly to (a situation, purpose, etc)
  2. not encouraging adaptation
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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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper