Definition of ineffectual in English:



  • 1Not producing any significant or desired effect.

    ‘an ineffectual campaign’
    • ‘It is hard to see what more could be done other than a punitive and probably ineffectual bombing campaign.’
    • ‘He seems to me in the line of Jane Austen's failed fathers, less ineffectual than Emma's, less priggish than Anne's.’
    • ‘But in situations like this, ineffectual gestures are usually worse than no gestures at all.’
    • ‘Luftwaffe tactical support for ground operations during the rest of the campaign remained spotty and ineffectual.’
    • ‘Banning things is usually a pretty ineffectual way of stopping people from doing what they want.’
    • ‘Or if I do, it's so ludicrously truncated and ineffectual as to be useless.’
    • ‘The woman could not be less interested but the blackboard she gets for her dowry comes in handy as a rather ineffectual shelter against chemical weapons.’
    • ‘This has the effect of fooling us into believing that this power is ineffectual.’
    • ‘The entire civil society response has been ineffectual.’
    • ‘The Executive's advertising campaigns contrive to be both insulting and ineffectual.’
    • ‘If it is about security, it's totally ineffectual anyway.’
    • ‘He has shown how false and useless and ineffectual the law truly is.’
    • ‘The regulation of our national financial affairs has been as ineffectual as the regulation of political behaviour.’
    • ‘No matter what cause those who hijacked these flights were fighting for, their tactics are unacceptable and ineffectual.’
    • ‘The guy's a plonker and made a totally ineffectual campaign leader.’
    • ‘We have been spared three years' ineffectual management.’
    • ‘The world's leaders may have failed, the UN may have failed and the final action plan and political declaration may be ineffectual.’
    • ‘Anyone know of the seemingly ineffectual changes to the way films are nominated for the documentary Oscar?’
    • ‘Interestingly the legislation that was passed to control illegal radio stations was remarkably ineffectual.’
    inefficient, ineffective, inefficacious, unsuccessful, powerless, impotent, inadequate, inept, incompetent, incapable, unfit, lame, feeble, weak, poor
    ineffective, unproductive, unsuccessful, non-successful, profitless, fruitless, futile, failed, abortive, vain, unavailing, useless, worthless, inadequate, inefficient, inefficacious, lame, inept, bungled, bungling
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    1. 1.1 (of a person) lacking the ability or qualities to fulfil a role or handle a situation.
      ‘she was neglectful and ineffectual as a parent’
      • ‘Saying that you don't like the choices available is weak and ineffectual.’
      • ‘Only problem is, he is ineffectual and naive as a new member of the corruptible capitalist system.’
      • ‘Other times, I feel completely ineffectual, and people progress immeasurably.’
      • ‘Yet as an immigrant and woman of color, she is ineffectual in America.’
      • ‘The UF and Green candidates seemed quite ineffectual, especially compared to the people they stood last time.’
      • ‘These difficulties would be ignored if he appeared a huge impediment, but he is ineffectual rather than terrible.’
      • ‘Those divisions contribute to the perception that they are ineffectual.’
      • ‘Speaking of ineffectual parents, we get them in the shop all the time.’
      • ‘When he says ineffectual, he just can't say no to people.’
      • ‘His mother, a pale, ineffectual, religious woman, dies young, leaving Archie to the care of a father he dreads and dislikes.’
      • ‘She balled her fists and struck out at him, her efforts feeble and ineffectual.’
      • ‘He is ineffectual in his dual post anyway, but he still can rant and rave over it.’
      • ‘In point of fact, he was remarkably ineffectual at anything but promoting a sort of genteel cronyism.’
      • ‘Our ineffectual government should have done something about this appalling situation by now.’
      • ‘He was my hero when he was Tom, but now he was Jerry he seemed weak and ineffectual.’
      • ‘He is around forty, sandy haired, ineffectual and weak chinned.’
      • ‘He has been ineffectual in parliament and widely ridiculed for his persona as the ‘quiet man’ of politics.’
      • ‘How our poor, ineffectual Mayor must envy his opposite number in Paris!’
      • ‘Your government is proving itself to be ineffectual when it comes to looking after its own people.’


Late Middle English: from medieval Latin ineffectualis, from in- ‘not’ + effectualis, from Latin effectus (see effect); in later use from in- ‘not’ + effectual.