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

Thanks to the poor civic planning and inefficient drainage systems, several transport networks across the financial capital have been rendered useless again this year. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "In photos: India’s financial capital sinks again at the first sign of rains," 2 July 2019 The late-1890s Socialists also tapped into a frustration that Donald Trump would seize: simmering voter anger at out-of-touch, inefficient, or corrupt government. Phil Primack,, "Guess which Massachusetts town elected the nation’s first socialist mayor," 14 June 2019 The report claims that the inefficient overtime pay system not only costs taxpayers millions but also diminishes the police work. Fox News, "Oakland cops collected $30M in overtime pay last year; one officer logged 2,600 OT hours," 13 June 2019 These high prices are the result of a highly inefficient private system, especially the greed of big entities such as pharmaceutical, medical device, hospital and insurance companies. Jon Talton, The Seattle Times, "Trump’s gambit to kill Obamacare risks lives and opportunity," 29 Mar. 2019 This was a very expensive and inefficient way to run an army. Rebecca Santana,, "Fighting Germans and Jim Crow: Marylander Waverly Woodson Jr. was among black troops in combat on D-Day," 6 June 2019 This was a very expensive and inefficient way to run an army. NBC News, "Fighting Germans and Jim Crow: Role of black troops on D-Day," 4 June 2019 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

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

14 Jul 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

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