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

Definition of inefficient

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

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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

Using one that’s old and worn out will at best be inefficient and, at worst, give you a rash or razor burn. Megan Gustashaw, Glamour, "So You Want to Shave Your Bikini Line...," 23 Mar. 2019 If the goal is to significantly improve service, tipping is an inefficient economic tool. David Lazarus,, "There's little economic justification for tipping. But we can't stop doing it," 22 June 2018 With the help of stuntmen and extras, Falz walks us step by step through Nigeria's major problems, central to this is what many perceive to be inefficient leadership by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari. Joey Akan, CNN, "From Chibok Girls to Yahoo Boys, 'This is Nigeria' video is a mirror for the country," 28 May 2018 An investigation by the Alaska State Ombudsman found the state's Division of Public Assistance has an application backlog, communication issues between the division and the public, and an inefficient model for managing clients' long-term care cases. Annie Zak, Anchorage Daily News, "Backlog and communication problems: Investigation finds issues with Alaska’s Division of Public Assistance," 9 May 2018 Yet firms run by the government are stonkingly inefficient. The Economist, "The seven-year itchTunisia needs help if it is to remain a model for the Arab world," 18 Jan. 2018 Dirty toasters are not only inefficient, but also a fire hazard. Perfect Mirrors 1. Arianne Cohen, Woman's Day, "Time-Saving Household Cleaning Tricks," 21 Nov. 2011 China’s inefficient financial system has long needed surgery. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "China Risks Real Hard Landing This Time," 23 Jan. 2019 Dobbins delivered 1,403 yards on 7.23 yards per carry to help carry Ohio State’s occasionally inefficient offense. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "The best running backs in college football for 2018," 4 July 2018

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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Statistics for inefficient

Last Updated

21 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for inefficient

The first known use of inefficient was in 1750

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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

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Comments on inefficient

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


a secret plot to overthrow a government

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