in·​ef·​fi·​cient ˌi-nə-ˈfi-shənt How to pronounce inefficient (audio)
: not efficient: such as
: wasteful of time or energy
inefficient operating procedures
: incapable, incompetent
an inefficient worker
: not producing the effect intended or desired
inefficient noun
inefficiently adverb

Examples of inefficient in a Sentence

The delivery system was very inefficient. an inefficient use of fuel
Recent Examples on the Web Yes, there is also an inefficient backdoor connection of the new tubes into Penn proper. Michael Aronson, New York Daily News, 9 July 2024 Wallace: In the face of a budget deficit, my goal is to avoid raising taxes by first examining and reducing any inefficient spending. Sam Kmack, The Arizona Republic, 9 July 2024 Flaws include poor head position, legs that are too low (which can cause an anchoring and slowing effect), unbalanced body rotation and inefficient breathing. Katherine Douglass, Scientific American, 8 July 2024 Those included a lack of hazardous materials training for Ohio volunteer firefighters; and inefficient or limited systems that prevented a faster response at different points as the disaster unfolded. Justine McDaniel, Washington Post, 25 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for inefficient 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inefficient.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1750, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of inefficient was in 1750

Dictionary Entries Near inefficient

Cite this Entry

“Inefficient.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


in·​ef·​fi·​cient ˌin-ə-ˈfish-ənt How to pronounce inefficient (audio)
: not producing the effect expected or desired
inefficient regulations
: wasteful of time or energy
inefficient procedures
especially : accomplishing little relative to the time spent or effort expended
an inefficient worker
inefficiently adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on inefficient

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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