in·​ef·​fec·​tive | \ ˌi-nə-ˈfek-tiv How to pronounce ineffective (audio) \

Definition of ineffective

1 : not producing an intended effect : ineffectual ineffective lighting
2 : not capable of performing efficiently or as expected : incapable an ineffective executive

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Other Words from ineffective

ineffectively adverb
ineffectiveness noun

Examples of ineffective in a Sentence

The treatment was ineffective against the disease. an ineffective effort to reduce unemployment that only spurred inflation
Recent Examples on the Web There have been several studies into the effect of hydroxychloroquine on patients sick with the disease caused by coronavirus that have found the drug to be ineffective or harmful to patients fighting coronavirus. NBC News, "Fact check: Are front-line workers taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID-19?," 21 May 2020 Some people try to save money on drugs by skipping doses or cutting pills—not a good idea, since doing so can make meds ineffective and worsen your condition. Marygrace Taylor, Good Housekeeping, "6 Things Your Pharmacist Wishes You Knew," 5 May 2020 Starting quarterback Jay Cutler suffered a knee injury late in the first half, and backup Todd Collins was ineffective after two scoreless series. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "50 in 50: B.J. Raji takes it to the house and the Packers beat the Bears in the NFC title game," 9 May 2020 Their efforts to prepare and repair the house are ineffective. Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times, "The climate gospel according to novelist Lydia Millet," 5 May 2020 The study suggested that hydroxychloroquine is ineffective at treating the coronavirus. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "FDA issues health warning about anti-malaria drugs championed by Trump," 24 Apr. 2020 For a social media company, an AI model that is ineffective at increasing ad clicks can be detected and rolled back the same day. Amit Kaushal, Scientific American, "The Talent Gap Holding Back Digital Medicine," 1 Feb. 2020 The parents’ lawsuit claims the university has been ineffective at stopping a longstanding problem with hazing. Washington Post, "Cornell freshman’s parents sue over his death, allege hazing," 29 Jan. 2020 Kopp resigned from the San Francisco Ethics Commission in March, saying the panel was ineffective at dealing with political corruption in the city. John Wildermuth,, "Quentin Kopp won’t run against Scott Wiener: State says he’s termed out," 31 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ineffective.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ineffective

1649, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for ineffective

Time Traveler

The first known use of ineffective was in 1649

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Statistics for ineffective

Last Updated

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ineffective.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for ineffective


How to pronounce ineffective (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ineffective

: not producing or having the effect you want : not effective


in·​ef·​fec·​tive | \ ˌi-nə-ˈfek-tiv How to pronounce ineffective (audio) \

Kids Definition of ineffective

: not having the desired effect The medicine was ineffective.

Other Words from ineffective

ineffectively adverb

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Comments on ineffective

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