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 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 Conventional wisdom holds that protest in the internet age has become unfocused and ineffectual. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "End the GOP," 13 Feb. 2020 Yet that support was lukewarm, in large part because the Mexican government was distant and ineffectual. Gary Kamiya,, "War in the Bay Area: Why native Californians fought U.S. takeover from Mexico," 10 Jan. 2020 Spoiler alert: resistance proves to be not only deathly dangerous but also ineffectual. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "“Jojo Rabbit” Captures the Horror and Absurdity of Our Trumpian Moment," 7 Jan. 2020 But the district leaders weren’t as reform-minded as the staff, many of whom were taken from the Miners for Democracy movement, and worse yet, Miller was ill and ineffectual as president. Vince Guerreri, Smithsonian Magazine, "Fifty Years Ago, the Murder of Jock Yablonski Shocked the Labor Movement," 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

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ineffectual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 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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