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[in-i-fek-tiv] /ˌɪn ɪˈfɛk tɪv/
not effective; not producing results; ineffectual:
ineffective efforts; ineffective remedies.
inefficient or incompetent; incapable:
an ineffective manager.
lacking in artistic effect, as a literary work, theatrical production, or painting.
Origin of ineffective
1645-55; in-3 + effective
Related forms
ineffectively, adverb
ineffectiveness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for ineffectively
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The French replied from some old guns on the hills as well as three shots from the Zelie, but ineffectively.

  • He answered dismally and ineffectively: "We'll have to go on pretending to be—just friends."

    Excuse Me! Rupert Hughes
  • He only rebounded painfully, ineffectively, which served him right for reading fiction.

    The Green Mouse Robert W. Chambers
  • He hurried after the boy and caught him fiercely if ineffectively by the arm.

    The Wishing Moon Louise Elizabeth Dutton
  • The intrigue is wearisome: its involutions are ineffectively puzzling.

  • Here have I been ineffectively trying to waken the fellow for the past hour.

    Mr. Prohack E. Arnold Bennett
  • Yonder goes a Medusa, pumping its way laboriously, yet not ineffectively, just beneath the surface of the clear wave.

    Omphalos Philip Henry Gosse
  • Again Harley's pistol spoke, but, as it seemed, ineffectively.

    Tales of Chinatown Sax Rohmer
  • I wanted to tell it, howsoever poorly and ineffectively it was done.

    The White People Frances Hodgson Burnett
British Dictionary definitions for ineffectively


having no effect
incompetent or inefficient
Derived Forms
ineffectively, adverb
ineffectiveness, 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
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Word Origin and History for ineffectively



1650s, from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + effective. Related: Ineffectively; ineffectiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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