not effectual; without satisfactory or decisive effect: an ineffectual remedy.
unavailing; futile: His efforts to sell the house were ineffectual.
powerless; impotent.

Origin of ineffectual

late Middle English word dating back to 1375–1425; see origin at in-3, effectual
Related formsin·ef·fec·tu·al·i·ty, in·ef·fec·tu·al·ness, nounin·ef·fec·tu·al·ly, adverb

Synonyms for ineffectual

2. ineffective, fruitless, pointless, abortive. See useless. 3. feeble, weak. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ineffectuality

Contemporary Examples of ineffectuality

  • If the only policy tool you allow yourself to use is tax credits, your reform agenda will sputter into ineffectuality.

    The Daily Beast logo
    All Good Things...

    David Frum

    June 3, 2013

  • Ezra Klein has an interesting and important article in the New Yorker about the ineffectuality of presidential communication.

Historical Examples of ineffectuality

  • Except for this tie of ineffectuality, they had nothing special in common.

  • After the catastrophe, which I attributed to the curse of ineffectuality that pursued me, I must confess that I was glad.

  • Being good is to them practically synonymous with ineffectuality; and accomplishment, achievement is its own justification.

  • He pitied the ineffectuality of Septimus with the kind yet half-contemptuous pity of the strong man with a fine nature.


    William J. Locke

British Dictionary definitions for ineffectuality



having no effect or an inadequate effect
lacking in power or forcefulness; impotentan ineffectual ruler
Derived Formsineffectuality or ineffectualness, nounineffectually, adverb
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 ineffectuality



early 15c., from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + effectual. Related: Ineffectually; ineffectuality.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper