• synonyms


See more synonyms for ineffectual on Thesaurus.com
  1. not effectual; without satisfactory or decisive effect: an ineffectual remedy.
  2. unavailing; futile: His efforts to sell the house were ineffectual.
  3. powerless; impotent.
Show More

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


See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
2. ineffective, fruitless, pointless, abortive. See useless. 3. feeble, weak.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ineffectually

Historical Examples

  • Cunningly did he ply his sword before them, but ineffectually.

    The Tavern Knight

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Again he searched his own thoughts; nor ineffectually as before.

    A Simple Story

    Mrs. Inchbald

  • They strove earnestly but ineffectually to trace the necklace.

    The Queen's Necklace

    Alexandre Dumas pre

  • Similar opposition was offered at many other points, but ineffectually.

  • I endeavoured to pacify him, by representing the danger, but ineffectually.

British Dictionary definitions for ineffectually


  1. having no effect or an inadequate effect
  2. lacking in power or forcefulness; impotentan ineffectual ruler
Show More
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 ineffectually



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

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper