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 The existing vaccines may prove to be ineffective against one or more of the new variants. Jeffrey D. Sachs, CNN, 12 May 2021 The AstraZeneca vaccine has been rejected by South Africa as ineffective against that variant. New York Times, 9 Apr. 2021 The formal grievance process at prisons throughout New York State is notoriously ineffective. Essence, 26 Aug. 2021 Gone With the Wind, which was released four months after World War II began, was similarly ineffective. Eric Herschthal, The New Republic, 9 Aug. 2021 Activists say the large number of cases shows the laws in place are highly ineffective, and have been for a long time. Amy Sood, CNN, 31 July 2021 Without such expensive and intensive conditions, tutoring proves to be mostly ineffective. Pawan Dhingra, Time, 28 July 2021 Given that none of these factors can be addressed using monetary policy, the RBI’s till-now successful inflation targeting frameworks is largely ineffective. Shoaib Daniyal, Quartz, 12 July 2021 Researchers in South Africa found a theoretical risk that some antibodies being developed to treat Covid could be ineffective against the beta variant. Jason Gale, Fortune, 8 July 2021

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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Last Updated

11 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ineffective.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for ineffective



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

More from Merriam-Webster on ineffective

Nglish: Translation of ineffective for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ineffective for Arabic Speakers


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