in·​ef·​fi·​cien·​cy | \ ˌi-nə-ˈfi-shən(t)-sē How to pronounce inefficiency (audio) \
plural inefficiencies

Definition of inefficiency

1 : the quality or state of being inefficient
2 : something that is inefficient

Examples of inefficiency in a Sentence

The candidate blamed her opponent for the local government's inefficiency. She claims that money can be saved by reducing inefficiencies.
Recent Examples on the Web Through such efforts Europe can address the inefficiencies that result from having different military organizations, reducing duplication and waste while gaining value. Ryan Meilak, National Review, "A New Year’s Resolution for the Transatlantic Community," 3 Jan. 2020 Every year in the United States, missed appointments and scheduling inefficiencies cost the health-care industry $150 billion, according to a report by SCI Solutions. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "Ford program offered rides to doctor's offices. Why they're abruptly ending it.," 6 Dec. 2019 Productivity is all about streamlining the little inefficiencies that add up. NBC News, "This Apple bundle gets you 13 premium apps for $42," 3 Dec. 2019 If bettors exploit a trend or inefficiency, sportsbooks adjust quickly. Christopher Smith, al, "Iron Bowl betting: Alabama-Auburn under holds value," 26 Nov. 2019 The moratorium can be linked to diplomatic and technical inefficiencies, but it is also based on a more fundamental problem for Barrow’s government. Franzisca Zanker, Quartz Africa, "The return of migrants from Europe is causing problems for The Gambia," 21 Nov. 2019 Therefore, helmet manufacturers are designing technology to perform well under the NFL’s testing conditions, and the NFL rankings drive the helmet technology available for the NCAA and youth helmets, perpetuating inefficiencies across the industry. Wired, "The NFL's Helmet Tests Are Brainless," 17 Oct. 2019 Each of the Big Three cloud providers has ironed out inefficiencies in the hardware and software running in their data centers. Wired, "Amazon, Google, Microsoft: Here's Who Has the Greenest Cloud," 10 Dec. 2019 Digital identity Technology has made inefficiencies in the banking system even more pronounced. Antony Jenkins, Quartz, "The demise of the traditional banking model is actually good news for all of us," 26 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inefficiency.' 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 inefficiency

1749, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for inefficiency

Time Traveler

The first known use of inefficiency was in 1749

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Statistics for inefficiency

Last Updated

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inefficiency.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 2020.

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How to pronounce inefficiency (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of inefficiency

: the lack of ability to do something or produce something without wasting materials, time, or energy : the quality or state of being inefficient


in·​ef·​fi·​cien·​cy | \ ˌi-nə-ˈfi-shən-sē How to pronounce inefficiency (audio) \
plural inefficiencies

Kids Definition of inefficiency

: the state or an instance of being ineffective or inefficient

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More from Merriam-Webster on inefficiency

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inefficiency

Spanish Central: Translation of inefficiency

Nglish: Translation of inefficiency for Spanish Speakers

Comments on inefficiency

What made you want to look up inefficiency? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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