in·​ef·​fi·​cient | \ ˌi-nə-ˈfi-shənt How to pronounce inefficient (audio) \

Definition of inefficient

: not efficient: such as
a : wasteful of time or energy inefficient operating procedures
b : incapable, incompetent an inefficient worker
c : not producing the effect intended or desired

Other Words from inefficient

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 Rather than rely on coders and bots, organizations can bring in the business technologists in their ranks to help untangle inefficient processes. Deb Gildersleeve, Forbes, 10 Nov. 2021 City officials have said those locations need repairs, are not buildings originally intended for the way they’re being used, and are inefficient. Steve Lord,, 21 Oct. 2021 Harsin and Mike Bobo’s offense was inefficient in the first half, struggling to finish drives in Georgia State territory, while Derek Mason’s defense displayed coverage issues yet again and had trouble stopping the run early on. Tom Green |, al, 26 Sep. 2021 Concerns that their process is inefficient have been a constant theme since the group first began mapping. Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press, 17 Sep. 2021 But under the Trump administration, the agency returned to building entire communities of trailers from scratch, saying the alternatives were costly and inefficient. Washington Post, 17 Oct. 2021 Traditional subsonic flight is still hugely inefficient and far from environmentally sustainable, said Andrew Murphy, director of aviation for Transport & Environment, an organization pushing for cleaner transportation. Jennifer Alsever, Fortune, 18 Sep. 2021 The laudable goal of encouraging clean energy and energy efficiency doesn’t have to be pursued through such inefficient and costly means. WSJ, 12 July 2021 In the years since, Republican legislators have tried to chisel away at IRS resources, casting the agency as inefficient and tyrannical. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, 18 June 2021

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

1750, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for inefficient

Time Traveler

The first known use of inefficient was in 1750

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Last Updated

27 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inefficient.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for inefficient



English Language Learners Definition of inefficient

: not capable of producing desired results without wasting materials, time, or energy : not efficient


in·​ef·​fi·​cient | \ ˌi-nə-ˈfi-shənt How to pronounce inefficient (audio) \

Kids Definition of inefficient

1 : not effective : ineffectual an inefficient repair
2 : not capable of bringing about a desired result with little waste inefficient workers

Other Words from inefficient

inefficiently adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on inefficient

Nglish: Translation of inefficient for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inefficient for Arabic Speakers


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