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 Florida man who created a two-week crisis by mailing 16 packages of inoperative pipe bombs packed with fireworks powder and shards of glass to 13 famous Democrats and CNN is scheduled to learn his punishment Monday. Larry Neumeister,, "Florida man who sent pipe bombs to Clinton, CNN faces sentencing," 5 Aug. 2019 The onetime pizza delivery man faced a mandatory decade in prison after pleading guilty to explosives charges on March 22 for mailing 16 inoperative pipe bombs days before the midterm elections last fall. Fox News, "Pipe bomb mailer Cesar Sayoc sentenced to 20 years behind bars," 5 Aug. 2019 Immune responses coat those electrodes with glial cells, defensive gunk that eventually renders them inoperative. Alex Davies, WIRED, "Here’s How Elon Musk Plans to Stitch a Computer into Your Brain," 17 July 2019 Chiu’s office said the bill would not prevent cities from enacting their own laws to address abandoned, wrecked or inoperative vehicles. Laura J. Nelson,, "Towing a car can be financially ruinous. Should California cities do it anyway?," 12 June 2019 The protocol was devised to ensure that messages of any length could be sent from one computer to another even if parts of the network were inoperative—if the country were under nuclear attack, for example. Popular Mechanics, "The Death of the Internet," 7 Feb. 2019 In hospitals across the country, medical equipment is antiquated, inoperative or nonexistent. Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post, "A Yemeni toddler fought for his life in a hospital while adults battled each other," 25 June 2018 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

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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Statistics for inoperative

Last Updated

17 Aug 2019

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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 How to pronounce inoperative (audio) \

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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of or relating to the heavens

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