Definition of inept in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪˈnɛpt/


Having or showing no skill; clumsy: the referee’s inept handling of the match
More example sentences
  • This is the second year we have been disenfranchised by this inept system and incompetence behind its planning.
  • Things are so much easier now I can converse, albeit in a choppy inept way, in Japanese.
  • Apparently she was enraged by the inept actions of the person ahead of her at the drive-in ATM.
incompetent, unskilful, unskilled, inexpert, amateurish, crude, rough;
clumsy, awkward, maladroit, unhandy, heavy-handed, bungling, blundering, bumbling, botched;
unproductive, unsuccessful, ineffectual, inadequate, inferior, substandard, wanting, lacking, not up to scratch
informal cack-handed, ham-fisted, ham-handed, butterfingered
British informal all thumbs, all fingers and thumbs
North American informal klutzy



Pronunciation: /ɪˈnɛptli/
Example sentences
  • The director seems to view himself as an auteur… As poorly written, ineptly directed, and hideously acted as the film is, its biggest sin is that it's boring.
  • Corruption had become endemic, the economy was ineptly managed, and the ruling party itself was unable to offer anything but fossilized mantras.
  • At times, after a particularly long-winded question ineptly put, the defendant would look totally at sea.


Pronunciation: /ɪˈnɛptnəs/
Example sentences
  • The Government was frightened that once there was decent scrutiny of the legislation, the weakness and ineptness of it would be plain for all to see.
  • It is even possible that the FBI's complete ineptness in investigating terrorism was at least partly caused by misdirection of other parts of the U. S. government.
  • There is a gulf between the perceived ineptness of many backbenchers and the acknowledged competence - sometimes seen as arrogance - of frontline ministers.


Mid 16th century (in the sense 'not apt, unsuitable'): from Latin ineptus, from in- 'not' + aptus (see apt).

  • apt from Late Middle English:

    Originally apt meant ‘suited, appropriate’; the source is Latin aptus ‘fitted’, the past participle of apere ‘fasten’. Inept (mid 16th century) is its opposite, the change in the vowel sound having already happened in Latin ineptus.

Words that rhyme with inept

accept, crept, except, incept, intercept, kept, leapt, overleaped, sept, slept, swept, upswept, wept, yclept

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: in¦ept

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