having the power of producing; generative; creative: a productive effort.
producing readily or abundantly; fertile: a productive vineyard.
causing; bringing about (usually followed by of): conditions productive of crime and sin.
Economics. producing or tending to produce goods and services having exchange value.
Grammar. (of derivational affixes or patterns) readily used in forming new words, as the suffix -ness.
(in language learning) of or relating to the language skills of speaking and writing (opposed to receptive).

Origin of productive

From the Medieval Latin word productīvus, dating back to 1605–15. See product, -ive
Related formspro·duc·tive·ly, adverbpro·duc·tive·ness, nounpro·duc·tiv·i·ty [proh-duhk-tiv-i-tee] /ˌproʊ dʌkˈtɪv ɪ ti/, nounan·ti·pro·duc·tive, adjectivean·ti·pro·duc·tive·ly, adverban·ti·pro·duc·tive·ness, nounqua·si-pro·duc·tive, adjectivequa·si-pro·duc·tive·ly, adverbsem·i·pro·duc·tive, adjectivesem·i·pro·duc·tive·ly, adverbsem·i·pro·duc·tive·ness, nounun·pro·duc·tive, adjectiveun·pro·duc·tive·ly, adverbun·pro·duc·tive·ness, noun

Synonyms for productive

2. fecund. Productive, fertile, fruitful, prolific apply to the generative aspect of something. Productive refers to a generative source of continuing activity: productive soil; a productive influence. Fertile applies to that in which seeds, literal or figurative, take root: fertile soil; a fertile imagination. Fruitful refers to that which has already produced and is capable of further production: fruitful soil, discovery, theory. Prolific means highly productive: a prolific farm, writer.

Antonyms for productive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unproductive

Contemporary Examples of unproductive

Historical Examples of unproductive

  • It still encumbered the south wall with its unproductive branches.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • The lobsterman made other attempts at conversation, but they were unproductive.

    The Depot Master

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Unproductive opinions were nothing to her now, especially in Addington.

    The Prisoner

    Alice Brown

  • The little cruising that had been done had been unproductive of results.

  • Poor Polly Perkins was a sad example of the unproductive consumer.

British Dictionary definitions for unproductive



(often foll by of) not productive of (anything)
not producing goods and services with exchange value
Derived Formsunproductively, adverbunproductiveness, noun



producing or having the power to produce; fertile
yielding favourable or effective results
  1. producing or capable of producing goods and services that have monetary or exchange valueproductive assets
  2. of or relating to such productionthe productive processes of an industry
(postpositive foll by of) resulting inproductive of good results
denoting an affix or combining form used to produce new words
Derived Formsproductively, adverbproductiveness, 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

Word Origin and History for unproductive

1756, from un- (1) "not" + productive.



1610s, from French productif (16c.) and directly from Medieval Latin productivus "fit for production," from Latin product-, past participle stem of producere (see produce (v.)). Related: Productively; productiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

unproductive in Medicine


[prə-dŭktĭv, prō-]


Producing or capable of producing mucus or sputum.
Forming new tissue, as of an inflammation.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.