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[uh-dap-tiv] /əˈdæp tɪv/
serving or able to adapt; showing or contributing to adaptation:
the adaptive coloring of a chameleon.
Origin of adaptive
1815-25; adapt + -ive
Related forms
adaptively, adverb
adaptiveness, noun
[ad-ap-tiv-i-tee] /ˌæd æpˈtɪv ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
nonadaptive, adjective
readaptive, adjective
readaptively, adverb
readaptiveness, noun
unadaptive, adjective
unadaptively, adverb
unadaptiveness, noun
Can be confused
adaptive, adoptive. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for adaptive
  • See animals up close and gain a better understanding of their habitat, size and adaptive characteristics.
  • If having a long neck was evolutionarily adaptive, heads had to remain small.
  • The proportionally long necks of sauropods must have had some adaptive advantage for the trait to be so widespread and persistent.
  • But the environment he designed it for has been changing so fast that his design is no longer as adaptive as it used to be.
  • Together, the steady dandelions and the mercurial orchids offer an adaptive flexibility that neither can provide alone.
  • Reasoning so conceived is adaptive given human exceptional dependence on communication and vulnerability to misinformation.
  • The human capacity for adaptive response evolved in face-to-face interactions.
  • Furthermore, this process must yield adaptive directional change in the species overall.
  • None of this star subtraction would be possible without adaptive optics-a means of sharpening telescope images.
  • adaptive radiation is a process in which many species develop to fill a variety of different roles in the environment.

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