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 Major developments in commerce and culture occurred early on, but by the late 19th century rulers struggled to govern a massive population, leading to government inefficiency and corruption. Jane Recker, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 May 2022 The difference between a gas-guzzler and its electric counterpart is that the manufacturer bears part of the cost of EV inefficiency upfront through battery purchases rather than leaving the consumer to shoulder it all at the pump. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, 11 Mar. 2022 And again, think about it 6% into primary care and prevention, how much of it goes not to doctors, nurses, those directly providing the care but to all that inefficiency that is embedded in this system. Fortune Editors, Fortune, 18 May 2022 Such improvements reduce inefficiency such as the need to retool components. Yossi Sheffi, WSJ, 30 Jan. 2022 Soaring prices for food and fuel, combined with the inefficiency of President Pedro Castillo’s government, have unleashed violent protests that have caused five deaths and led to calls for Mr. Castillo and Peru’s legislators to resign. Franklin Briceno, The Christian Science Monitor, 19 Apr. 2022 The tax agency shouldn’t be rewarded for inefficiency with more money. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 13 Jan. 2022 Without their center, the Bulls will be stuck with inefficiency that plagued the center at midseason. Julia Poe,, 28 Mar. 2022 Chubais was dismissed in December 2020 amid friction over unprofitable projects and inefficiency. Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of inefficiency

1749, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for inefficiency

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The first known use of inefficiency was in 1749

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Last Updated

23 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Inefficiency.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for inefficiency


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

More from Merriam-Webster on inefficiency

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inefficiency

Nglish: Translation of inefficiency for Spanish Speakers


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