[ in-ept, ih-nept ]
/ ɪnˈɛpt, ɪˈnɛpt /


without skill or aptitude for a particular task or assignment; maladroit: He is inept at mechanical tasks. She is inept at dealing with people.
generally awkward or clumsy; haplessly incompetent.
inappropriate; unsuitable; out of place.
absurd or foolish: an inept remark.

Origin of inept

1595–1605; < Latin ineptus, equivalent to in- in-3 + -eptus, combining form of aptus apt

Related forms

in·ept·ly, adverbin·ept·ness, noun

Can be confused

inapt inept unapt Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ineptness

British Dictionary definitions for ineptness


/ (ɪnˈɛpt) /


awkward, clumsy, or incompetent
not suitable, appropriate, or fitting; out of place

Derived Forms

ineptitude, 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