ineffective

Use the adjective ineffective to describe something that doesn't work quite the way it's supposed to. You might complain about your ineffective guard dog, who wags his tail and licks everyone who comes to your house.

When you're ineffective, you're unable to accomplish something you're trying to do. You might realize that you're an ineffective babysitter when you can't get the kids to go to bed. Ineffective comes from the Latin prefix in, "not, or opposite of," added to effective, whose Latin root is effectivus, "productive." When something's unproductive, inefficient, or incapable, it's ineffective.

Definitions of ineffective
  1. adjective
    not producing an intended effect
    “an ineffective teacher”
    ineffective legislation”
    synonyms: ineffectual, uneffective
    idle
    not in action or at work
    toothless
    lacking necessary force for effectiveness
    unproductive
    not producing desired results
    inefficacious
    lacking the power to produce a desired effect
    inefficient
    not producing desired results; wasteful
    powerless
    lacking power
    useless
    having no beneficial use or incapable of functioning usefully
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    Antonyms:
    effective, effectual, efficacious
    producing or capable of producing an intended result or having a striking effect
    hard-hitting, trenchant
    characterized by or full of force and vigor
    impelling
    markedly effective as if by emotional pressure
    impressive, telling
    producing a strong effect
    rough-and-ready
    crude but effective for the purpose at hand
    efficacious
    marked by qualities giving the power to produce an intended effect
    efficient
    being effective without wasting time or effort or expense
    potent, stiff, strong
    having a strong physiological or chemical effect
    powerful
    having great power or force or potency or effect
    useful, utile
    being of use or service
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  2. adjective
    lacking in power or forcefulness
    synonyms: ineffectual, unable
    impotent
    lacking power or ability
  3. adjective
    lacking the ability or skill to perform effectively; inadequate
    “an ineffective administration”
    synonyms: inefficient
    incompetent
    not qualified or suited for a purpose
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