• synonyms


[in-ept, ih-nept]
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  1. without skill or aptitude for a particular task or assignment; maladroit: He is inept at mechanical tasks. She is inept at dealing with people.
  2. generally awkward or clumsy; haplessly incompetent.
  3. inappropriate; unsuitable; out of place.
  4. absurd or foolish: an inept remark.
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Origin of inept

1595–1605; < Latin ineptus, equivalent to in- in-3 + -eptus, combining form of aptus apt
Related formsin·ept·ly, adverbin·ept·ness, noun
Can be confusedinapt inept unapt

Synonyms for inept

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1. unskillful, bungling. 4. stupid, pointless, inane.

Antonyms for inept

1. suited.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ineptly

Historical Examples of ineptly

  • Nothing of all this I knew, so ineptly had I managed my chances to obtain it.


    William McFee

  • In consequence of the peculiar legend, the stamp has been dubbed, not ineptly, the "has been" stamp.

  • Hoddan was again in sanctuary inside the Embassy they'd guarded so ineptly through the dark.

    The Pirates of Ersatz

    Murray Leinster

  • Metaphysics was not ineptly called so, since it had in time come after the cruder physical hypotheses.

  • That lover of hers, whom we are presently to see, has compared her ineptly with Joan of Arc, that other maid of France.

British Dictionary definitions for ineptly


  1. awkward, clumsy, or incompetent
  2. not suitable, appropriate, or fitting; out of place
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Derived Formsineptitude, nounineptly, adverbineptness, noun

Word Origin for inept

C17: from Latin ineptus, from in- 1 + aptus fitting, suitable
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 ineptly



c.1600, from Old French inepte (14c.) or directly from Latin ineptus "unsuitable, improper, absurd, awkward, silly, tactless," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + aptus "apt" (see apt). Related: Ineptly; ineptness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper