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 Neither do rare moments when torture is shown to be ineffective. al, "Alabama researchers find torture in movies of all kinds -- even cartoons," 10 Feb. 2020 Today’s psychiatric drugs do not work better than a placebo for many people, which has given them the reputation of being ineffective. Karen Weintraub, Scientific American, "Is an Antidepressant Right for You? Ask Your Brain Waves," 10 Feb. 2020 Both Morrison and Dvorak agree that the current ban on texting while driving is ineffective, but that distracted driving goes beyond using a cellphone. Kellie Hwang, Indianapolis Star, "Here's why some representatives of both parties voted against the distracted driving bill," 7 Feb. 2020 If ailments such as earaches, sore throats and cold-and-flu symptoms are viral rather than bacterial, antibiotics would be ineffective. Melanie Evans, WSJ, "Patients Often Get Antibiotics Without a Doctor Visit, Study Finds," 3 Feb. 2020 Across Asia and elsewhere, strict checks and screening have been put in place for all travelers arriving from China -- though this may be ineffective as scientists previously warned that the virus can be spread while patients are asymptomatic. James Griffiths, CNN, "Wuhan coronavirus infections continue to spread as countries evacuate citizens from China," 30 Jan. 2020 Nearly 800 people died in that epidemic, which saw desperate people emptying shops for Chinese herbal medicines and vinegar that would turn out to be ineffective. Echo Huang, Quartz, "China’s battle with the Wuhan coronavirus is shackled by a toxic relationship with information," 23 Jan. 2020 Their Saturday rematch against the New York Rangers at Little Caesars Arena was an improvement over the ineffective first 40 minutes that tarnished Friday’s outing in New York. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings come up inches short vs. Rangers, 1-0, for 8th straight loss," 2 Feb. 2020 Over a decade, Cottam has tried to put people on the margins of society at the center of their own stories, architects of their futures rather than recipients of faceless, often ineffective benefits. Jenny Anderson, Quartz, "A social activist’s radical plan to use human relationships to fix the broken economy," 21 Jan. 2020

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

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ineffective.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 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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