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 The most significant opposition came from Family Council President Jerry Cox, who cast hate-crimes laws as ineffectual after decades of pressure to toughen penalties on the state and federal level. John Moritz, Arkansas Online, "Hate-crimes legislation advances to full Senate," 6 Apr. 2021 Many of these boycotts are what their critics call them: petty, divisive, and ineffectual. Isaac Schorr, National Review, "All Boycotts Are Not Created Equal," 6 Apr. 2021 When his usual methods prove ineffectual, a political strategist takes a gamble on a new client to prove that sometimes dirty battles have to be fought cleanly. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: ‘The Searchers’; ‘Forrest Gump’," 12 Mar. 2021 Particularly ineffectual was Utah’s effort on transition defense. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Stunning lack of defensive effort sends Utah Jazz to embarrassing loss against Golden State," 14 Mar. 2021 The result was an ineffectual lockdown that only meant cases were mitigated, but never eliminated — unlike the lockdowns in Asia and Australia. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, "What the pandemic has taught us about science, society and our own selfish ways," 5 Mar. 2021 The tow truck driver was undoubtedly imbued with car-up-the-ramp artistry after years of toil and was now witnessing the rather lame and ineffectual efforts of a layman at his same craft. Lance Eliot, Forbes, "Convincing A Self-Driving Car To Go Where You Want It To Go When It Won’t Go There," 27 Feb. 2021 Meanwhile, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, the district’s black, Asian, and Latino students are suffering tremendous academic learning setbacks at the hands of ineffectual online remote learning. Grant Addison, Washington Examiner, "Frisco's folly," 11 Feb. 2021 After showing signs of improvement on man advantages in their prior games, the Wings looked ineffectual, registering just one shot on net in 6:25 of man-advantage time through two periods. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings pummeled, embarrassed by Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-1," 4 Feb. 2021

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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Time Traveler for ineffectual

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

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Statistics for ineffectual

Last Updated

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ineffectual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for ineffectual



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

More from Merriam-Webster on ineffectual

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Nglish: Translation of ineffectual for Spanish Speakers

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