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

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 However, critics called him ineffective and pointed to the city’s lasting problems with crime, poor schools and high taxes despite being given 12 years in charge. Washington Post, 1 Jan. 2022 Critics argue that these types of programs are ineffective without simultaneous changes to policing that would address the criminalization of people experiencing homelessness. Taylor Stevens, The Arizona Republic, 3 June 2022 The postconviction lawyers allegedly erred by not arguing the trial counsel was ineffective. Jessica Gresko, The Christian Science Monitor, 24 May 2022 Relying on Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan to produce in isolation has become increasingly ineffective as opposing defenses overload both stars with double teams and traps. Julia Poe,, 28 Mar. 2022 El Sayed said insulin can become ineffective in low temperatures without proper storage, especially as the attacks leave some without electricity or heat. Tasnim Ahmed, CNN, 18 Mar. 2022 Additionally, the pace of change shows no signs of slowing down, which is why CX efforts need to keep up or become ineffective. Michael Scharff, Forbes, 28 Jan. 2022 City officials deemed this type of detention for children morally unacceptable and ineffective at rehabilitating young people. Michael Cabanatuan, San Francisco Chronicle, 19 May 2022 Most people who have worked in an organization, large or small, have a story to tell about a misguided decision that was costly and ineffective. Constance Dierickx, Forbes, 18 May 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.

First Known Use of ineffective

1649, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About ineffective

Time Traveler for ineffective

Time Traveler

The first known use of ineffective was in 1649

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near ineffective




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for ineffective

Last Updated

19 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ineffective.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for ineffective


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


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!