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 Wes Unseld and Earl Monroe, who'd been ineffective in earlier meetings, had 25 and 24 points, respectively. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Memorable moments from every game of the 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks championship season," 29 Apr. 2021 Not long after, Miller was tapped as the political director for the Assembly minority leader, which led to his assuming the duties of finance director because his predecessor in the role was ineffective. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "Washington's new 'Indispensable Man'," 22 Apr. 2021 Slager, who was sentenced in 2017, argued in part that his attorneys were ineffective. Jamiel Lynch, CNN, "A judge declined to toss the federal sentence of ex-officer Michael Slager in fatal Walter Scott shooting," 20 Apr. 2021 Shin, who wants to work on guaranteeing Virginians paid family medical leave and paid sick leave, argues that Samirah has been ineffective since he was elected to his seat in 2019. Washington Post, "Virginia House Democrats see record number of challenges in primary elections," 17 Apr. 2021 Foxx said the numbers reflect old patterns of policing that are ineffective. William Lee,, "Parallel worlds emerge in the first year of legalization as Blacks make up more than three-quarters of marijuana-related arrests while boutique dispensaries take off," 15 Apr. 2021 Slager recently brought a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence, claiming his counsel was ineffective. CBS News, "Former police officer Michael Slager, who shot Walter Scott to death, wants sentence vacated," 13 Apr. 2021 The argument that masks are ineffective is true when face masks are not worn correctly (as widely seen around the chin). Tamara Hew-butler, The Conversation, "Why student athletes need a new playbook to stay safe in the COVID-19 era," 13 Apr. 2021 He was then relieved by Jaime Barria, who was also ineffective in a 1 2/3-inning, seven-run outing. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, "Angels wait out long rain delay and long review, then are crushed by Blue Jays," 11 Apr. 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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Statistics for ineffective

Last Updated

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ineffective.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 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

Comments on ineffective

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