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[in-i-fish-uh nt] /ˌɪn ɪˈfɪʃ ənt/
not efficient; unable to effect or achieve the desired result with reasonable economy of means.
lacking in ability, incompetent.
Origin of inefficient
1740-50; in-3 + efficient
Related forms
inefficiently, adverb
2. See incapable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for inefficient
  • But innovation is horribly wasteful and inefficient.
  • It's shockingly wasteful and inefficient, but effective.
  • Proponents might argue that organizing garbage collection on a ward-by-ward basis is inefficient and wasteful.
  • But in both cases they're products of an inefficient and unfair system.
  • But thanks to rigid labour laws, it is fragmented and inefficient.
  • But this is inefficient and requires large amounts of power.
  • The first thing to understand is that our energy system is highly inefficient.
  • Elephants also prove to be extremely inefficient while running.
  • The state almost everywhere is big, inefficient and broke.
  • They claimed the turbojet engine would be too heavy and fuel inefficient.
British Dictionary definitions for inefficient


unable to perform a task or function to the best advantage; wasteful or incompetent
unable to produce the desired result
Derived Forms
inefficiency, noun
inefficiently, adverb
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 inefficient

1750, "not producing the desired effect," from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + efficient. Related: Inefficiency (1749); inefficiently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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