in·​ef·​fec·​tu·​al ˌi-nə-ˈfek-chə(-wə)l How to pronounce ineffectual (audio)
: not producing the proper or intended effect : futile
ineffectuality noun
ineffectually 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 But, as has been the case in the last three elections here, Beijing’s ploys were ineffectual. Eryk Michael Smith, Fox News, 4 May 2024 An intentionally ineffectual Iranian attack would also hardly serve as a compelling deterrent. Suzanne Maloney, Foreign Affairs, 18 Apr. 2024 Alice’s ineffectual husband Simon (a curiously miscast Anders Danielsen Lie) prefers to stay aloof, while Céline’s distraught husband Damian (ensemble standout Josh Charles, in an underwritten part) retreats into boozy isolation. Guy Lodge, Variety, 27 Mar. 2024 As the Kremlin finds creative ways to evade government sanctions, marginal improvements in the Russian economy have led some critics to wrongly declare that all economic sanctions are ineffectual and useless. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Fortune, 22 Mar. 2024 In the early months of the war, Hamas responded to the Israeli ground invasion with intense if ineffectual rocket fire, launching more than 13,000 projectiles toward Israel. Hazem Balousha, Washington Post, 27 Mar. 2024 Maybe you won’t be convinced that Casolaro’s trail leads to the October Surprise — the theory that argues Ronald Reagan cut a deal with Iran to keep U.S. hostages captive until after the 1980 presidential election, thereby making incumbent Jimmy Carter look weak and ineffectual. Chris Vognar, Rolling Stone, 28 Feb. 2024 The conventional method involved securing digital entry points using firewalls to ward off potential threats, but the rise in multicloud usage and the adoption of hybrid work environments are making these approaches outdated and ineffectual. Anudeep Parhar, Forbes, 27 Feb. 2024 In what might be called the Great Reversal, President Biden rolled back Trump policies as a matter of course and on principle, assuming that anything his predecessor was responsible for must be immoral or ineffectual. Rich Lowry, National Review, 4 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ineffectual.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near ineffectual

Cite this Entry

“Ineffectual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


in·​ef·​fec·​tu·​al ˌin-ə-ˈfek-chə(-wə)l How to pronounce ineffectual (audio)
: not producing the proper or usual effect
an ineffectual attempt
-ˈfek-chə(-wə)-lē How to pronounce ineffectual (audio)
ineffectualness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on ineffectual

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