ineffective

adjective
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

Partisan bickering has brought us the most ineffective Congress ever, led by Rep. Steve Scalise. Drew Broach, NOLA.com, "Tammy Savoie, retired Air Force colonel, running for Congress against Steve Scalise," 15 May 2018 The government’s first reaction to the occupation had been to demand that the Native activists leave Alcatraz, but a barricade put in place proved to be ineffective. Ruth Hopkins, Teen Vogue, "How Alcatraz Island Was Reclaimed by Native Peoples," 7 Mar. 2019 The Tasers and rubber bullets were ineffective, Abbott said. Asia Fields, The Seattle Times, "Armed man arrested after barricading himself in White Center Subway," 5 Feb. 2019 The laws went largely unenforced and were ineffective. Alexandra Hudson, WSJ, "I’m Taking the Surly Train," 25 Dec. 2018 Democrats say a wall would be ineffective in fixing those problems and is a waste of money. José De Córdoba, WSJ, "New U.S.-Bound Migrant Groups Set Off From Honduras," 15 Jan. 2019 At the end of the day, Mattis proved ineffective or uninterested in preventing shocking abuses of power and flagrant immorality only to throw down over a perfectly legitimate order from the commander in chief. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "There never were any “adults in the room”," 21 Dec. 2018 While such treatments are sometimes ineffective, that shortcoming doesn’t impart efficacy on marijuana either. Peter B. Bach, WSJ, "If Weed Is Medicine, So Is Budweiser," 17 Jan. 2019 Working in pharmaceuticals, Winter had grown frustrated with animal testing, mice were proving ineffective as incubators for creating antibodies that would work in humans. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The 2018 Nobels in Chemistry Made Evolution Work For Us," 3 Oct. 2018

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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Statistics for ineffective

Last Updated

16 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ineffective

The first known use of ineffective was in 1649

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More Definitions for ineffective

ineffective

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of ineffective

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

ineffective

adjective
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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