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 ineffectuality (audio) \ noun
ineffectually \ ˌi-​nə-​ˈfek-​chə(-​wə)-​lē How to pronounce ineffectually (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

Although many might dismiss campus activism as ineffectual, or even disrespectful, universities are at the forefront of many divestment and reparations movements. Nylah Burton, Essence, "Black Harvard Students Want The University To Divest From The Prison-Industrial Complex," 20 June 2019 The fact that some of Marshall’s words were much later put to good use cannot erase the immediate practical effect of his Indian decisions, which ranged from ineffectual to devastating. Jed S. Rakoff, The New York Review of Books, "Marshall Law," 17 Jan. 2019 But the inundation is so complete that these efforts are often ineffectual. Dan Sweeney,, "South Floridians are sick of smelly seaweed; cities say they’re doing what they can," 3 June 2019 In addition to unleashing a patriotic flood, Mr. Putin would undoubtedly hope to expose the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as dithering and ineffectual. Leon Aron, WSJ, "Russian Pensions and the Risk of War," 16 Oct. 2018 His combative anti-immigration rhetoric and down-to-earth persona on social media have tapped anger at Italy’s aloof, ineffectual political establishment in swaths of Italian society. Giovanni Legorano, WSJ, "Italy’s Far-Right Firebrand Takes Aim at Europe," 13 Feb. 2019 Ah-In Yoo stars as Jong-su, the quiet, ineffectual young man obsessed with his former classmade Hae-mi (Jong-seo Jeon). Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Steven Yeun on Burning, The Walking Dead, and changing roles for Asian-Americans," 4 Nov. 2018 For one thing, Richard Beymer as Tony is perhaps the most ineffectual leading man in any major Hollywood musical, and for another, those ballet dancers pretending to be juvenile delinquents never seemed the least bit threatening. Will Friedwald, WSJ, "‘West Side Story Reimagined’ Review: A Kaleidoscope of Latin Jazz," 16 July 2018 The Trump administration is right to make Chinese mercantilism an issue, Mr. Cass says, but its response has been ineffectual. Jason Willick, WSJ, "Conservatives and the Politics of Work," 23 Nov. 2018

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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Statistics for ineffectual

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for ineffectual

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on ineffectual

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ineffectual

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ineffectual

Spanish Central: Translation of ineffectual

Nglish: Translation of ineffectual for Spanish Speakers

Comments on ineffectual

What made you want to look up ineffectual? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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