Simple Definition of inept
: lacking skill or ability
: showing a lack of skill or ability : not done well
Full Definition of inept
Examples of inept in a sentence
Not only does the post have a narrow mandate, covering such sexy subjects as nuclear waste and solar energy, but the secretary presides over the most inept bureaucrats in the land. —Franklin Foer, New Republic, 3 July 2000
The real hackers have an understanding of technology at a basic level. … The rest are talentless poseurs and hangers-on, either completely inept or basic criminals. —Bruce Schneier, Secrets & Lies, 2000
To Cornelius, the White House travel office must have seemed—as it would have to any of the others who had served on the tight ship of the campaign's travel operation—an appallingly inept … operation. —Peter J. Boyer, New Yorker, 15 Apr. 1996
He was completely inept at sports.
He made an inept attempt to apologize.
Origin of inept
Middle French inepte, from Latin ineptus, from in- + aptus apt
First Known Use: 1542
Synonym Discussion of inept
INEPT Defined for Kids
Definition of inept for Students
1 : not suited to the occasion <an inept remark>
2 : lacking in skill or ability <an inept painter>
Word Root of inept
The Latin word aptus, meaning “fit” or “suitable,” gives us the root apt or ept. Words from the Latin aptus have something to do with being fitting or suitable. Something apt fits just right into a situation. To adapt is to change in order to fit a situation better. Someone who is adept has suitable skills to perform a task well, while someone who is inept does not.
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