Definition of ineffectual in US English:



  • 1Not producing any or the desired effect.

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


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