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 One of mine turns to the art in the world’s now shuttered museums: inoperative without the physical presence of attentive viewers. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "Mortality and the Old Masters," 6 Apr. 2020 Investors grasp that the traditional crisis response — central banks dropping interest rates — is effectively inoperative. Peter S. Goodman, New York Times, "Markets Plunge. Economies Stall. Panic Spreads. It All Feels Very 2008.," 13 Mar. 2020 Captain Pearson took this to mean that the cockpit fuel gauges were completely inoperative. Matt Parker, Wired, "Bad Math, Pepsi Points, and the Greatest Plane Non-Crash Ever," 23 Jan. 2020 Its appellate body, which adjudicates disputes, has been rendered inoperative by the Trump administration’s blocking of new judges. New York Times, "Brexit’s Advance Opens a New Trade Era," 14 Dec. 2019 The company was fined $25,000 for allowing workers to use the vehicle with an inoperative safety bar. Maria Perez,, "American farms recruit Mexican veterinarians for jobs as animal scientists — but the real work is milking cows and cleaning pens for low pay," 4 Dec. 2019 The driver failed to use a turn signal while changing lanes and a rear license plate light was inoperative, the sheriff’s office said. Kieran Nicholson, The Denver Post, "Western Slope traffic stop uncovers 67 pounds of drugs hidden in fuel tank, driver arrested," 3 Dec. 2019 Blayais’s reactor #1 came closest to disaster: Debris clogged the main cooling system, one of the two essential service water systems shorted out, and the emergency core cooling systems were rendered inoperative. Mario Alejandro Ariza, The New Republic, "Calm Before the Storm," 30 Sep. 2019 In October, a Florida man, Cesar Sayoc, sent inoperative mail bombs to prominent Democrats and to CNN’s office in New York, prompting evacuation of its building. Washington Post, "CNN increasingly sees itself as subject to threats after incidents involving Cuomo, Lemon, Ryan," 15 Aug. 2019

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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Cite this Entry

“Inoperative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for inoperative


How to pronounce inoperative (audio)

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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