in·​op·​er·​a·​tive | \(ˌ)in-ˈä-p(ə-)rə-tiv, -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

Those previous actions primarily covered angle-of-attack sensors that were blocked or rendered temporarily inoperative by icing. Robert Wall, WSJ, "Lion Air Crash Probe Eyes Sensor Hazards Stretching Back Years," 18 Nov. 2018 Failure to perform this step will result in an inoperative system and an incomplete repair. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Apple confirms its T2 security chip blocks some third-party repairs of new Macs," 12 Nov. 2018 Flying with an inoperative engine is a skill that pilots practice frequently in simulator training sessions. John Cox, USA TODAY, "Ask the Captain: How long are flights over water crossing the Atlantic?," 24 June 2018 All twin-engine aircraft can fly with one engine inoperative. John Cox, USA TODAY, "Ask the Captain: How long are flights over water crossing the Atlantic?," 24 June 2018 The Honda becomes inoperative just after the six-minute mark near Tamiami Trail. Carli Teproff, Charles Rabin, Rebecca Ellis And David Ovalle, miamiherald, "Video shows wild chase down Florida's Turnpike after trooper's car hit intentionally," 6 June 2018 Roads were clogged all over San Juan because traffic lights were inoperative, and several businesses in busy downtown areas were closed. Washington Post, "Mayor: Puerto Rico blackout won’t affect Indians-Twins game," 18 Apr. 2018 According to the report, most laboratory services and hospital nutrition services are intermittent or completely inoperative. Julia Jones And Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, "Venezuela health system in worse condition than expected, according to survey," 28 Mar. 2018 The National Survey of Hospitals, an independent report published last week, found that 88 percent of the 134 medical centers studied were missing basic medicines, and 100 percent said their pathology labs were inoperative. Jim Wyss, miamiherald, "A measles outbreak in ailing Venezuela is threatening Colombia and Brazil | Miami Herald," 26 Mar. 2018

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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Last Updated

23 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for inoperative

The first known use of inoperative was circa 1631

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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 \

Legal Definition of inoperative 

: having no force or effect an inoperative will

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More from Merriam-Webster on inoperative

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inoperative

Spanish Central: Translation of inoperative

Nglish: Translation of inoperative for Spanish Speakers

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the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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