in·​ef·​fec·​tu·​al | \ ˌi-nə-ˈfek-chə(-wə)l How to pronounce ineffectual (audio) , -ˈfeksh-wəl \

Definition of ineffectual

1 : not producing the proper or intended effect : futile

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Other Words from ineffectual

ineffectuality \ ˌi-​nə-​ˌfek-​chə-​ˈwa-​lə-​tē How to pronounce ineffectual (audio) \ noun
ineffectually \ ˌi-​nə-​ˈfek-​chə(-​wə)-​lē How to pronounce ineffectual (audio) , -​ˈfek-​shwə-​ \ adverb
ineffectualness noun

Examples of ineffectual in a Sentence

an ineffectual effort to find the trail again did at least lead them to another stunning view of the canyon another ineffectual plan to lose weight without dieting or exercising
Recent Examples on the Web Organizations such as the UN have been left looking largely ineffectual and paralyzed by inaction. Timothy Mclaughlin, The Atlantic, 24 Apr. 2021 It has been criticized as ineffectual by Biden's Treasury leading up to the release of his plan and also criticized as encouraging the movement of assets offshore by companies in order to increase the FDII deduction. Tax Notes Staff, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2021 Even substantial fines have proven ineffectual: Billion-dollar fines like the one Google incurred in 2019 end up being little more than irritants when a company can earn that back in as little as two weeks. Alexis Wichowski, Wired, 19 Apr. 2021 Here, too, one encounters preoccupations with Islam, immigration, pornography, and drugs; brutal descriptions of women aging; bleak dilations on the impossibility of love; criticisms of the ineffectual French left. Emily Witt, The New Yorker, 19 May 2021 Job burnout is often the result of chronic workplace stress, and manifests as exhaustion, cynicism and feeling ineffectual. Allison Pohle, WSJ, 19 Apr. 2021 Their martyrdom offers the next-best salve to an ineffectual POTUS. Armond White, National Review, 16 Apr. 2021 After his ineffectual stint as an Atlanta Hawk, skepticism persists that Rondo, at 35, will provide the offensive organization and playmaking that the Clippers badly need. New York Times, 7 Apr. 2021 The most significant opposition came from Family Council President Jerry Cox, who cast hate-crimes laws as ineffectual after decades of pressure to toughen penalties on the state and federal level. John Moritz, Arkansas Online, 6 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ineffectual.' 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 ineffectual

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for ineffectual

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The first known use of ineffectual was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

20 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ineffectual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for ineffectual



English Language Learners Definition of ineffectual

: not producing or able to produce the effect you want


in·​ef·​fec·​tu·​al | \ ˌi-nə-ˈfek-chə-wəl How to pronounce ineffectual (audio) \

Kids Definition of ineffectual

: not producing the proper or desired effect

Other Words from ineffectual

ineffectually adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on ineffectual

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ineffectual

Nglish: Translation of ineffectual for Spanish Speakers


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