Definition of ineffectual in English:



  • 1Not producing any or the desired effect.

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


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