in·​ef·​fec·​tive ˌi-nə-ˈfek-tiv How to pronounce ineffective (audio)
: not producing an intended effect : ineffectual
ineffective lighting
: not capable of performing efficiently or as expected : incapable
an ineffective executive
ineffectively adverb
ineffectiveness noun

Example Sentences

The treatment was ineffective against the disease. an ineffective effort to reduce unemployment that only spurred inflation
Recent Examples on the Web Snowplows that usually clear the mountain roads were ineffective and now crews are working around the clock to reach the communities that are still snowed in as of Friday. Nathan Solis, Los Angeles Times, 4 Mar. 2023 By April 2022, King’s finance lender license was ineffective, KVVU reported. Greg Wehner, Fox News, 17 Feb. 2023 The death of Tyre Nichols, however, is proof that police-reform efforts have been ineffective. WSJ, 7 Feb. 2023 Skipper says that banning AI tools in scientific work would be ineffective. James Vincent, The Verge, 26 Jan. 2023 There is a pervasive narrative that DEI trainings are ineffective. Janice Gassam Asare, Forbes, 25 Jan. 2023 Most regular doctors have experience treating migraines, but neurologists are the real experts and should be consulted if standard treatments are ineffective. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 20 Jan. 2023 Critics say the act is ineffective because so many species remain on the list, but supporters say that is exactly what illustrates its enormous success. Kennedy Elliott, Ryan Williams, National Geographic, 12 Jan. 2023 Trehern then began fleeing the scene foot when the deputy chased the 21-year-old man and attempted to Tase him but the stun gun was ineffective. Howard Koplowitz |, al, 11 Jan. 2023 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ineffective.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1649, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of ineffective was in 1649

Dictionary Entries Near ineffective

Cite this Entry

“Ineffective.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​ef·​fec·​tive ˌin-ə-ˈfek-tiv How to pronounce ineffective (audio)
: not producing the desired effect
an ineffective law
: not performing as well as expected or needed
an ineffective leader
ineffectively adverb
ineffectiveness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on ineffective

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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