What is the difference between adaptive and adaptative? I found an explanation here but I don't really understand it.

In addition, my spell-checkers (on various softwares, on various computers) tell me that adaptative does not exist. In various scientific publication about adaptive meshes (I used to work on self-refining meshes using wavelets and multi-wavelets) I found adaptive but I never found adaptative (I don't say it is never used, I just say I never saw it). This lead me to think the right word is adaptive but I recently saw adaptative in some documentation and checked an online translator (wordreference for those willing to know) which told me the word does exist.

1 Answer 1


This has a linguistic background. The word 'adaptive' originated from word formation of 'adapt' and '-ive' around 1795 from Old French 'adapter' and before that from Latin 'adaptare'. The proper formation would have been 'adaptative'.

'adaptative' is part of the oxford dictionary though, which makes me believe that because of its origin both words coexist as synonyms.

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