in·​ef·​fec·​tive ˌi-nə-ˈfek-tiv How to pronounce ineffective (audio)
: not producing an intended effect : ineffectual
ineffective lighting
: not capable of performing efficiently or as expected : incapable
an ineffective executive
ineffectively adverb
ineffectiveness noun

Example Sentences

The treatment was ineffective against the disease. an ineffective effort to reduce unemployment that only spurred inflation
Recent Examples on the Web But the government’s persistent failure to crack down on facilities that fall short of nursing home standards could render his plan ineffective. USA Today, 1 Dec. 2022 The two players the team counts on for wing minutes, Lonnie Walker IV and Troy Brown Jr., were ineffective enough that the Lakers stayed small, even with Schroder finishing a team-worst minus-16 as Tyrese Haliburton tortured the Lakers defense. Los Angeles Times, 29 Nov. 2022 People were outraged, saying pandemic restrictions on movement slowed and made ineffective the firefighters’ ability to rescue the victims. Sammy Westfall, Washington Post, 29 Nov. 2022 During the manufacturing process, a dusty layer of dead yeast surrounds each cell and unless this layer is first dissolved in liquid, the yeast is weak and ineffective. Shilpa Uskokovic, Bon Appétit, 22 Nov. 2022 Policy moves are either viewed as heavy-handed and regressive or pie-in-the-sky and ineffective. Danny Mcdonald,, 22 Nov. 2022 In Mariota’s defense, the Falcons’ vaunted running game was slowed by the Panthers and rendered the Falcons’ play-action schemes ineffective. oregonlive, 10 Nov. 2022 More than nine out of 10 French people say the measures taken by the government to soften the blow of inflation are either insufficient or ineffective, according to an Elabe poll of 1,000 people published on Wednesday. Noemie Bisserbe, WSJ, 10 Nov. 2022 Twenty years from now, what’s been happening on Twitter will likely look exactly as grotesque and cruel and ineffective as that two-part, syndicated apology special. Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, 7 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1649, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of ineffective was in 1649

Dictionary Entries Near ineffective

Cite this Entry

“Ineffective.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition


in·​ef·​fec·​tive ˌin-ə-ˈfek-tiv How to pronounce ineffective (audio)
: not producing the desired effect
an ineffective law
: not performing as well as expected or needed
an ineffective leader
ineffectively adverb
ineffectiveness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on ineffective

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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