in·​op·​er·​a·​tive | \ (ˌ)in-ˈä-p(ə-)rə-tiv How to pronounce inoperative (audio) , -ˈä-pə-ˌrā- \

Definition of inoperative

: not operative: such as
a : not functioning an inoperative clock
b : having no effect or force an inoperative law

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Other Words from inoperative

inoperativeness noun

Examples of inoperative in a Sentence

The accident had rendered the vehicle inoperative. With the new federal law in place, the state law has become inoperative.
Recent Examples on the Web The voluminous underbrush in an inoperative eucalyptus plantation quickly allowed the fire to swell in size, stunning residents of the village, which has a few hundred residents. New York Times, 5 July 2021 Pilots train in nearly every simulator session flying the airplane with an inoperative engine. John Cox, USA TODAY, 15 May 2021 An inoperative backup camera proved to be a bigger inconvenience, as the Model Y's shape effectively reduces rear visibility to zero when trying to back out of a parking space. Drew Dorian, Car and Driver, 10 May 2021 The former police chief also reestablished the department’s K-9 unit which was inoperative for 20 years. Tom Steele, Dallas News, 30 Mar. 2021 Vaal river system because of inoperative and dilapidated wastewater treatment plants from surrounding municipalities since at least 2015. Tawanda Karombo, Quartz Africa, 28 Feb. 2021 Conservative commentators Mark Levin and Sean Hannity, along with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ken., have posted words of support, but the site overall remained inoperative Thursday morning. Author: Tom Hamburger, Craig Timberg, Anchorage Daily News, 21 Jan. 2021 In all, 12 of 32 closed-circuit television cameras at the jail were inoperative at the time of Brice’s death, and showers had a metal bar across the entry way on which curtains were attached., 15 Dec. 2020 The company received emergency contracts to keep providing a substitute for the inoperative trains. Patrick Mcgeehan, New York Times, 21 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inoperative.' 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 inoperative

circa 1631, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for inoperative

Time Traveler

The first known use of inoperative was circa 1631

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Last Updated

16 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inoperative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for inoperative



English Language Learners Definition of inoperative

: not capable of being used
: having no force or effect


in·​op·​er·​a·​tive | \ i-ˈnä-pə-rə-tiv How to pronounce inoperative (audio) \

Legal Definition of inoperative

: having no force or effect an inoperative will

More from Merriam-Webster on inoperative

Nglish: Translation of inoperative for Spanish Speakers


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