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

The result has been a bevy of new startups hoping to take advantage of inefficiencies in real estate transactions. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "This algorithm can find a buyer for your house," 12 July 2018 To create a product or service that is truly efficient often involves a lot of inefficiency — more like learning to knit than pressing a button. Gal Beckerman, New York Times, "What Silicon Valley Could Use More Of: Inefficiency," 4 June 2018 But the evidence also suggests that Dunn, who is nearly 24, will face an uphill battle against inefficiency. Rob Mahoney,, "Kris Dunn Is Changing Minds in Chicago," 16 Jan. 2018 There is also the inefficiency of the cash transaction itself. Town & Country, "Is This the End of Cash?," 28 Jan. 2019 As India’s own history shows, the nativist road inevitably leads to cronyism, inefficiency and a raw deal for consumers. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "Politics May Trip Up Amazon and Walmart in India," 10 Jan. 2019 In addition, newspaper closure led to greater local government payroll and taxes per capita, suggesting greater government inefficiency and that alternative information sources couldn’t fill the accountability hole left by the closure. Kevin Lewis,, "Judges vs. climate change," 1 June 2018 The Royals have been plagued by inefficiency with runners in scoring position all season. Maria Torres, kansascity, "Royals' bullpen falls apart twice as Blue Jays sweep doubleheader | The Kansas City Star," 17 Apr. 2018 But the materials issue could be solved, and the labor inefficiency may be a product of the fact that most urban farmers are hobbyists and are doing it for fun. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Urban farms could be incredibly efficient—but aren’t yet," 27 Dec. 2018

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

The first known use of inefficiency was in 1749

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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).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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