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

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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 Barry Richard, an election lawyer who served as a lead attorney for Mr. Bush in Florida, said the 2000 legal challenges revolved around ballot designs, antiquated voting equipment and inefficient state statutes. WSJ, "Latest Updates: Biden Elected President but Trump Challenging Result," 10 Nov. 2020 What happens when the conference’s most inefficient offense meets the conference’s most porous defense will play out Saturday afternoon. Megan Ryan, Star Tribune, "Gophers' game plan for Illini includes preparing to adapt to change," 2 Nov. 2020 Instead, the offense lost all crispness and was inefficient, including on an 18-play, 93-yard touchdown drive at the end of the fourth quarter that was way too methodical. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "In Michigan football's loss to MSU, we learned one thing: Wolverines are overrated," 1 Nov. 2020 Over time, it will be used during protocol planning and design to reduce or offset — and ultimately avoid — inefficient practices and better predict clinical trial performance. Murray Aitken, STAT, "‘Patient friction coefficient’ can gauge the burden of participating in a clinical trial," 30 Oct. 2020 How did such inefficient life-forms beat the competition? Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "The Lessons of Reading Every Book About Trump," 24 Oct. 2020 When it was introduced in 1981, the supersonic transport plane seemed to represent the future of passenger air travel, but studies called it costly, inefficient and noisy. Robert D. Mcfadden, New York Times, "Alan S. Boyd, Nation’s First Transportation Chief, Dies at 98," 19 Oct. 2020 The productivity of the ground game is astonishingly inefficient with no run going longer than a 12-yarder Hill had at LSU. Michael Casagrande |, al, "The weirdness of Mississippi State’s offense," 29 Oct. 2020 In the Soviet Union, medical care was free but the sprawling hospital system was inefficient and, according to Osipov, often heavy-handed in its approach to patients. Washington Post, "In Russia, sick people often treat themselves. That’s not helping in the coronavirus fight.," 23 Oct. 2020

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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Statistics for inefficient

Last Updated

14 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inefficient.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for inefficient


How to pronounce inefficient (audio)

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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