Some people in the IT world use the terms Adaptive and Responsive interchangeably. True, both follow the progressive enhancement strategy and have a lot of similarities, but are definitely not the same when it comes to their implementation. Let start with the characteristics of Responsive Web Design.
- Uses client scripts or media queries to control the design of the page
- Relies on a fluid grid to shrink and expand to the screen size
- Boston Globe
- Can use server or client scripts to determine the design of the page
- Distinct templates geared for each device
Here is a great infographic of some more similarities and differences