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See more synonyms for nonproductive on Thesaurus.com
  1. not productive; unproductive.
  2. not worthwhile or beneficial; not leading to practical or beneficial results.
  3. not producing goods directly, as employees in charge of personnel or inspectors.
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Origin of nonproductive

First recorded in 1920–25; non- + productive
Related formsnon·pro·duc·tive·ly, adverbnon·pro·duc·tive·ness, non·pro·duc·tiv·i·ty [non-proh-duhk-tiv-i-tee, -prod-uh k-] /ˌnɒn proʊ dʌkˈtɪv ɪ ti, -prɒd ək-/, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for non-productive

Historical Examples

  • A non-productive plan of self-incarceration in a brain bastile by a mental midge of either sex, or none.

    The Roycroft Dictionary

    Elbert Hubbard

  • The miners had run into non-productive calcite a few hundred feet down, it was said.

  • That is, we have a Massachusetts enclosed within our farms which is non-productive as far as direct returns are concerned.

  • They make demands on the organism for nourishment, and are thus in the position of non-productive members of a working family.

    Parallel Paths

    Thomas William Rolleston

  • Here also the arbitrary and non-productive style of teaching ran strongly counter to me at every step.

British Dictionary definitions for non-productive


  1. (of workers) not directly responsible for producing goods
  2. having disappointing results; unproductive
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Derived Formsnonproductiveness, nounnonproductivity (ˌnɒnprɒdʌkˈtɪvɪtɪ), noun
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