Definition of unproductive in US English:



  • 1Not producing or able to produce large amounts of goods, crops, or other commodities.

    ‘unproductive land must be reforested’
    • ‘Some government planners anticipate a policy that encourages people to vacate marginal or unproductive land, with the possible end of food assistance as one inducement to relocation.’
    • ‘They occupied the land and the New Zealand Government allocated only some rather unproductive land to the Moriori.’
    • ‘I am particularly concerned with the new costs associated with road enclosure permits, especially when these areas of land are often unproductive.’
    • ‘The American military initially found the South as a convenient locale of large amounts of unproductive land that could be converted into training facilities.’
    • ‘In fact, the unproductive vast amount of agricultural set-aside land could be used to grow oil-seed rape to feed all types of engines.’
    • ‘Logging concessions are stimulated by the wrong incentives: it is more lucrative to clear forestland for plantations than to plant on open and unproductive land.’
    • ‘Farmers simply saw the marsh as unproductive land that could be used for grazing animals.’
    • ‘There are areas on which there are tracts of land which are quite unproductive and which could easily be acquired for plantation with suitable trees.’
    • ‘Since 1985 hundreds of thousands of peasants have taken it upon themselves to carry out land reform by occupying unproductive land.’
    sterile, barren, infertile, uncultivatable, unfruitful, poor, lifeless, lean, arid
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    1. 1.1 (of an activity or period) not achieving much; not very useful.
      ‘unproductive meetings’
      • ‘He went on to explain that the previous bubble was caused by borrowing low-cost capital for investment in unproductive activities, particularly for speculative purposes.’
      • ‘What could be a nicer way to spend an idle day - and being career leftists, it is safe to assume most of their days are unproductive - than preening and posturing in the dock while reporters take down their every egomaniacal word?’
      • ‘We get to the office full of high resolve, only to watch the minutes and hours dribble away in unproductive activity.’
      • ‘You rarely waste energies on unproductive activities.’
      • ‘Taxpayer's money must be spent in the best interest of the citizens in order to satisfy their basic needs, and not on unproductive projects.’
      • ‘However, the process was unproductive and Avril was not satisfied with the songs because they did not feel right.’
      • ‘Our tax systems need to encourage voluntary compliance, provide efficient service to the taxpayers, eliminate unproductive work and enhance efficiency.’
      • ‘Of course, not all unproductive activities funded by surplus value are necessarily wasteful or parasitic.’
      • ‘Our foreign policy in this regard is very clear and we wonder why some rich nations decide to waste their huge resources on unproductive ventures.’
      • ‘There is also evidence of departure from the traditional approach to job design and the attempted elimination of unproductive activities from job specifications.’
      • ‘When a research program is unproductive for a long period it suggests that something may be wrong with the questions being asked or the methods being used.’
      • ‘It is high time the Government worked out an appropriate strategy to divert such investment from unproductive ventures like shebeens to more productive areas.’
      • ‘Completely wasted my entire day in unproductive activity and left the blasted cluster room hours later seething with frustration and disgust.’
      • ‘India faced some hurdles - low PC penetration, the possibility of piracy and the general perception of games as an unproductive activity.’
      • ‘And the unproductive periods do seem to correlate somewhat with gloomier moods.’
      • ‘In fact all Mayo could manage while assisted by the wind in the second half was three points, the third one by Cora Staunton in the 55th minute to end an unproductive period of fourteen minutes.’
      • ‘It seems somewhat bizarre but when I really think about it, not unusual from Labour - that it would want us to encourage unproductive activity but discourage productive activity.’
      • ‘These have been some really unproductive years for me.’
      • ‘We don't need to account for money/time lost on other unproductive activities - we are only monitoring spam's impact.’
      • ‘Or, more often, we go about each in an unproductive way.’
      fruitless, futile, vain, idle, useless, worthless, valueless, pointless, ineffective, ineffectual, to no effect, impotent, inefficacious, unprofitable, unremunerative, unrewarding
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