Definitions

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

  • adj. Not apt or fitting; inappropriate.
  • adj. Displaying a lack of judgment, sense, or reason; foolish: an inept remark.
  • adj. Bungling or clumsy; incompetent: inept handling of the account.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Not able to do something; not proficient; displaying incompetence
  • adj. Unfit; unsuitable

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Not apt or fit; unfit; unsuitable; improper; unbecoming.
  • adj. Silly; useless; nonsensical; absurd; foolish.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Not apt, fit, or suitable; inapt.
  • Inappropriate; out of place; foolish.

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

  • adj. revealing lack of perceptiveness or judgment or finesse
  • adj. not elegant or graceful in expression
  • adj. generally incompetent and ineffectual

Etymologies

Latin ineptus : in-, not; see in-1 + aptus, suitable; see apt.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French inepteĀ ("feckless") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I guess "inept" is one way to describe this handling of a national tragedy.

    Allison Kilkenny: But the Air Base Is Safe, Right?

  • My point about blaming the bosses for being inept is proved by the above, because you will not get the backing from them if you deal with incidents like this because the majority are now politicaly correct pen pushers referd to as managers and not police officers.

    Every Cloud « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • Charlie is forced into running the factory after his father's death, and he is somewhat inept from a business standpoint.

    Kinky Boots

  • It only hits a reset button of building or rebuilding a fanbase, while ignoring the real crux of the issue--long-term inept franchises will not draw fans in *any* market, whether you're Atlanta, Pittsburgh see pre-Crosby, or Chicago.

    Challenges mount in Atlanta

  • "The investigation was called inept and dishonest by the defense, but law enforcement officers in Cary went to great lengths to preserve and analyze all the evidence," Zellinger said.

    The Seattle Times

  • Notice I also used the word inept, as in "poor management".

    Memphis Commercial Appeal Stories

  • That, or the human race orphaned the word inept by limiting the use of the word ept out of existance.

    Everything2 New Writeups

  • And I've got another, too -- 'inept' -- and that's what you are now, Patricia Kendall.

    Miss Pat at School

  • The judicial branch is not typically described as inept, probably because its deliberations are private and the messy give-and-take that precedes opinions is seldom open for analysis.

    Glenn W. Smith: The Dangerous Framing of Congress as an Inept Community

  • Elsewhere, the idea of inept or failing homeschoolers is being discussed, particularly the comparison between traditionally schooled and homeschooled students, standards for homeschoolers, and the failure of some homeschooling families to deliver a certain type of education.

    When other homeschoolers "fail"

Comments

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  • Thanks, seanahan, that's interesting.

    December 24, 2006

  • Actually, it makes perfect sense. The word was originally "not apt" or "inapt", but the vowel got assimilated over time.

    December 22, 2006

  • Unless they all needed the "Emergency Pregnancy Test"?

    December 22, 2006

  • Interestingly, as far as I can see, "ept" does not exist, although some Wordies have listed it!

    December 21, 2006