• synonyms


See more synonyms for ineffective on Thesaurus.com
  1. not effective; not producing results; ineffectual: ineffective efforts; ineffective remedies.
  2. inefficient or incompetent; incapable: an ineffective manager.
  3. lacking in artistic effect, as a literary work, theatrical production, or painting.
Show More

Origin of ineffective

First recorded in 1645–55; in-3 + effective
Related formsin·ef·fec·tive·ly, adverbin·ef·fec·tive·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

inadequacy, infirmity, impotence, powerlessness, helplessness, uselessness, feebleness, weakness, inefficacy, incapability

Examples from the Web for ineffectiveness

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Now, at last, he had no cunning, and he was hazily conscious of his ineffectiveness.

  • In the diagram, Fig. 108, the ineffectiveness of the thrust is shown at those points.


    James Slough Zerbe

  • The result of half-knowledge is always flabbiness and ineffectiveness.

    Expository Writing

    Mervin James Curl

  • To the want of balance was chiefly due the ineffectiveness of these hints.

    The Bright Messenger

    Algernon Blackwood

  • The worst feature of the experiment was its ineffectiveness.

British Dictionary definitions for ineffectiveness


  1. having no effect
  2. incompetent or inefficient
Show More
Derived Formsineffectively, adverbineffectiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ineffectiveness



1650s, from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + effective. Related: Ineffectively; ineffectiveness.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper