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 This standing appointment with defeat has not deterred Trump from playing up the joint session of Congress as a possible turning point in his ineffectual quest to upend the election results. Sarah Midkiff,, "Senator Josh Hawley Plans To Contest The Election Results. What Does This Mean?," 30 Dec. 2020 In Jackson’s case, Lue pulled the veteran point guard after only 3 minutes and 21 seconds of ineffectual play in the first half. Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times, "Tyronn Lue wins Clippers debut: 5 takeaways from the game," 23 Dec. 2020 But the police and justice systems remain ineffectual and riddled with graft. Washington Post, "As Mexico’s security deteriorates, the power of the military grows," 17 Dec. 2020 Yet to respond in this way would just be to further normalize an ineffectual pragmatism that characterizes so much of our political discourse in general. Robert Jackson Wood, The New Republic, "The Stubborn Classism of Classical Music," 10 Dec. 2020 After ineffectual attempts to offer aid, Adam flees the scene, leaving the other boy to die on the pavement. oregonlive, "‘Your Honor’: Bryan Cranston is a judge trying to cover up a crime in an uneven new drama (review)," 1 Dec. 2020 In the years that followed, the right-wing government in Warsaw cozied up to the White House, hosting a Trump visit and later an ineffectual Trump administration summit on the future of the Middle East. Washington Post, "After Trump, what’s next for the West’s far right?," 25 Nov. 2020 With more than 10 million cases and 240,000 deaths, the U.S. response has stood out on the world stage as ineffectual and scattershot. Emma Court,, "With Covid and Trump Both Raging, Governors Face Pandemic Alone," 12 Nov. 2020 In what might be their only debate, Hegar, the Democratic challenger, cast Cornyn as ineffectual and too cozy with big-money interests during his 18 years in Washington. Robert T. Garrett, Dallas News, "Cornyn-Hegar Senate race takes a nasty turn with negative ads by the candidates, outside groups," 31 Oct. 2020

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

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ineffectual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for ineffectual


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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