not eligible; not permitted or suitable: Employees are ineligible in this contest.
legally disqualified to hold an office.
legally disqualified to function as a juror, voter, witness, etc., or to become the recipient of a privilege.


a person who is ineligible, as a suitor or team member.

Origin of ineligible

First recorded in 1760–70; in-3 + eligible
Related formsin·el·i·gi·bil·i·ty, in·el·i·gi·ble·ness, nounin·el·i·gi·bly, adverb

Synonyms for ineligible

1. disqualified, unsuitable. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ineligibility

Historical Examples of ineligibility

  • Laughing, he joined in the honest fellow's regret at his ineligibility to take rank as a guest in the neighborhood.

  • Is it for a disqualification or ineligibility of like legal character arising since my election?

  • Woman first rendered ineligible to the priesthood, was then punished for this ineligibility.

    Woman, Church & State

    Matilda Joslyn Gage

  • How quickly by a word can the hero reveal himself, thus discarding his masquerade of ineligibility and doubling the romance!

  • “My dear, you should know better than to suggest that the ineligibility of any man is obvious,” said Mrs. Thrale.

    A Nest of Linnets

    Frank Frankfort Moore

British Dictionary definitions for ineligibility



(often foll by for or an infinitive) not fit or qualifiedineligible for a grant; ineligible to vote


an ineligible person
Derived Formsineligibility or ineligibleness, nounineligibly, 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 ineligibility



1770, from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + eligible.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper