Definition of inept
ineptlyplay \i-ˈnep(t)-lē\ adverb
ineptnessplay \i-ˈnept-nəs\ noun
Examples of inept in a Sentence
Not only does the post have a narrow mandate, covering such sexy subjects as nuclear waste and solar energy, but the secretary presides over the most inept bureaucrats in the land. —Franklin Foer, New Republic, 3 July 2000
The real hackers have an understanding of technology at a basic level. … The rest are talentless poseurs and hangers-on, either completely inept or basic criminals. —Bruce Schneier, Secrets & Lies, 2000
To Cornelius, the White House travel office must have seemed—as it would have to any of the others who had served on the tight ship of the campaign's travel operation—an appallingly inept … operation. —Peter J. Boyer, New Yorker, 15 Apr. 1996
He was completely inept at sports.
He made an inept attempt to apologize.
Recent Examples of inept from the Web
Over the next six months, Lenin's approach gained adherents and Kerensky's government proved shockingly inept.
The former Democratic standard-bearer was perhaps her most forthcoming at Recode, even slamming her party for an inept election operation.
Now came time for the Cardinals to play inept baseball.
A justice who genuinely cares about presidential authority might be appalled to see this president put the legitimate power of his office at risk in pursuit of this inept, nakedly political executive order.
Here's what the plaque says: Inept safety inspector turned city-wide softball hero.
The RD850 has first-rate sensitivity, but its minimalist owner's manual and inept display will keep you in the dark about who's lurking around the bend.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inept'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of inept
Middle French inepte, from Latin ineptus, from in- + aptus apt
First Known Use: 1542
Synonym Discussion of inept
INEPT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of inept for English Language Learners
: lacking skill or ability
: showing a lack of skill or ability : not done well
INEPT Defined for Kids
Definition of inept for Students
1 : not suited to the occasion an inept remark
2 : lacking in skill or ability an inept painter
Word Root of inept
The Latin word aptus, meaning “fit” or “suitable,” gives us the root apt or ept. Words from the Latin aptus have something to do with being fitting or suitable. Something apt fits just right into a situation. To adapt is to change in order to fit a situation better. Someone who is adept has suitable skills to perform a task well, while someone who is inept does not.
Seen and Heard
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