Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Insufficient to produce a desired effect: an ineffectual effort to block the legislation.
  • adj. Useless; worthless: an ineffectual treatment for cancer.
  • adj. Lacking forcefulness or effectiveness; weak: an ineffectual ruler.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. unable or insufficient to produce effect; futile
  • adj. worthless
  • adj. weak; lacking forcefulness

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Not producing the proper effect; without effect; inefficient; weak; useless; futile; unavailing

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Not effectual; not producing or not able to produce the desired effect; of no efficacy; inefficient: as, an ineffectual remedy.
  • Synonyms Fruitless, Unavailing, etc. See useless.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. lacking in power or forcefulness
  • adj. producing no result or effect
  • adj. not producing an intended effect

Etymologies

in- "not" + effectual "having effect" (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Walter Bassett broke out in ineffectual protest, but was swiftly silenced by the threat of a lunacy commission.

    Goliah

  • Then when the Mexicans fired off a few rockets at us in ineffectual retaliation, with negligible damage to us, we would then have responded with a massive bombing campaign against Mexican civilian infrastructure, killing a hundred or more Mexicans to every one American killed.

    On Gaza: Huffington Post Takes Cues From Fox News « Antiwar.com Blog

  • Of course the Résistance was militarily ineffectual from a conventional standpoint: It was a guerrilla movement, with a large civil component that emphasised civil desobedience and sabotage.

    Think Progress » On Today Show, O’Reilly Compares Murtha With Hitler Sympathizers

  • Walter Bassett broke out in ineffectual protest, but was swiftly squelched by the threat of a lunacy commission.

    Goliah

  • Bassett broke out in ineffectual protest, but was swiftly squelched by the threat of a lunacy commission.

    Goliah

  • However, the being a little slow, a little ineffectual, is perhaps the least offensive fault she could have; and/some/fault, being human, she

    New Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle

  • The reason Batman does so as a vigilante is because the official channels were and are corrupt and ineffectual, which is another problem he's trying to fix so as to render himself unnecessary.

    hth_the_first: Batman's Sing-Along Blog

  • Fukuyama's solution...can better be described as ineffectual internationalism.

    Daimnation!: "Ineffectual internationalism": The failings of Francis Fukuyama

  • The C.C.R.B. is characterized as ineffectual even by its supporters — only 1 percent of the recent complaints have reportedly led to disciplinary action.

    Incident in the 70th Precinct

  • Yet, even while he was weighing all the chances, he smiled to himself as he recalled the ineffectual little whistle that had gone out on the whistling wind.

    On the Firing Line

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