[in-op-er-uh-tiv, -op-ruh-tiv, -op-uh-rey-tiv]


not operative; not in operation.
without effect: inoperative remedies.
no longer in effect; void; canceled: The earlier rule is now inoperative.

Origin of inoperative

First recorded in 1625–35; in-3 + operative
Related formsin·op·er·a·tive·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for inoperative

unworkable, defective, broken, faulty, void

Examples from the Web for inoperative

Contemporary Examples of inoperative

Historical Examples of inoperative

  • As a craft stands on the ground, its planes are inoperative.

    Learning to Fly

    Claude Grahame-White

  • They were saluted with a volley of musketry, all but inoperative.

    Yorkshire Battles

    Edward Lamplough

  • If these sections do not bind the Crown they are meaningless and inoperative.

    The Treaty of Waitangi

    T. Lindsay Buick

  • In some cases they restrain individuals; upon the aggregate they are inoperative.

  • If it stands still in the air its planes are inoperative, and it falls.

    The Aeroplane

    Claude Grahame-White and Harry Harper

British Dictionary definitions for inoperative



not operating
useless or ineffective
Derived Formsinoperativeness, noun
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 inoperative

1630s, from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + operative.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper