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

The central bank’s efforts to cushion the blow might not be merely ineffectual. Washington Post, "Ex-Fed official says central bank should stop enabling Trump," 30 Aug. 2019 Note the shock over Clinton’s 2016 defeat, the furor directed at a take-no-prisoners Trump, and sudden progressive criticism of the Obama presidency as too temporizing, weak and ineffectual. Victor Davis Hanson, The Mercury News, "Victor Davis Hanson: Why socialism, and why now?," 30 Aug. 2019 The central bank's efforts to cushion the blow might not be merely ineffectual. Chris Isidore, CNN, "The Fed shouldn't 'enable' Trump, former Fed official Bill Dudley says," 27 Aug. 2019 Like John le Carré, Somerset Maugham depicts espionage as tawdry, morally problematic, heartless and frequently ineffectual. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, "‘Ashenden’: the perfect late summer escape read, and a classic," 31 July 2019 The space center pointed the team to a machine called the soundscriber to do so, but the antiquated technology proved ineffectual. Emma Ruby, Dallas News, "UT-Dallas celebrates personal ties with NASA 50 years after 'one small step for man'," 20 July 2019 So far, the official response has been ineffectual, and many Mongolians have begun to see it through a wider lens. Beth Gardiner, National Geographic, "Kids suffer most in one of Earth's most polluted cities," 26 Mar. 2019 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

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

4 Sep 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).


readily or continually undergoing change

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