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

Yet some of the most prominent Leavers, such as Daniel Hannan and Douglas Carswell, are classical liberals who regard the European Union as a protectionist bloc that is bent on subsidising inefficient industries. The Economist, "The trouble with open v closed," 22 Mar. 2018 For decades, the bloc was the target of ridicule in Britain for what was perceived as European hubris and an inefficient bureaucracy. Raf Casert, The Seattle Times, "Little gloating in Europe at Britain’s Brexit mess," 30 Mar. 2019 The end result, at this stage, is a very inefficient solar collector. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Transparent solar cell turns edge on and generates its own light," 12 Dec. 2018 Because renewable energy will replace old inefficient fossil-fuel plants, Xcel expects that the move will ultimately save consumers $215 million a year. Justin Worland/pueblo, Time, "How One Industrial City Is Fighting to Go Green," 12 July 2018 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

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

2 Jun 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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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