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 As in Harlem, federal efforts to revitalize Watts proved short-lived, largely ineffectual, and under-resourced. National Geographic, "How will the protests end? History tells us much depends on how government responds," 12 June 2020 The stance of solidarity from African writers, will likely ultimately ineffectual, follows a rich history of African writers being vocal about civic rights issues, especially on the continent. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Africa’s literary community is lending its voice to calls for justice for George Floyd," 5 June 2020 Without giving more away, there are accusations and frame-ups and an investigation from the ineffectual, newly installed constable (Benedict Hardie). Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Mia Wasikowska is outstanding in 'Judy & Punch,' a retelling of the old puppet show," 5 June 2020 Presiding over the entire mess was HHS Secretary Alex Azar, reportedly frustrated but clearly ineffectual. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 2 Apr. 2020 The response from the rest of society to this predicament has ranged from callous to ineffectual. J.c. Pan, The New Republic, "Essential Jobs, Disposable Workers," 17 Apr. 2020 Finally, Crozier made the Navy’s chain of command look ineffectual and raised questions about whether America’s top military officers have confidence in their chain of command. Benedict D. Capaldi, National Review, "A Captain’s Duty," 7 Apr. 2020 Any important disease, whose physical etiology is not understood, and for which treatment is ineffectual, tends to be awash in significance. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "Will Facebook ever learn?," 18 Mar. 2020 But the law’s supporters saw his efforts as ineffectual; a court ruling has delayed implementation indefinitely. Joshua Fechter,, "San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg making headway on second-term agenda but running afoul of natural allies," 31 Dec. 2019

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

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Last Updated

19 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ineffectual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce ineffectual (audio)

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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Spanish Central: Translation of ineffectual

Nglish: Translation of ineffectual for Spanish Speakers

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