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[boot-lis] /ˈbut lɪs/
without result, gain, or advantage; unavailing; useless.
Origin of bootless
before 1000; Middle English bot(e)les, Old English bōtlēas unpardonable. See boot2, -less
Related forms
bootlessly, adverb
bootlessness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bootless
Contemporary Examples
  • The Democrats sensibly blamed the feckless, bootless Bush administration for the collapse of the markets.

    GOP R.I.P. John Batchelor April 10, 2009
Historical Examples
  • And he recalled his own bootless wickedness and underhand intrigues.

  • "But he's gone on a bootless errand, I tell ye," continued Mrs. Garth.

  • I'll follow him no more with bootless prayers.Merchant of Venice.

    An Old Sailor's Yarns Nathaniel Ames
  • "'Tis possible—nay, probable—that this is a bootless quest," said I dejectedly.

    The O'Ruddy Stephen Crane
  • The matter is such a commonplace of history that it is bootless to labour it here.

  • The bootless feet of the Texan had left no mark on the buffalo grass.

    Prairie Flowers

    James B. Hendryx
  • I had been bootless, when I started; but my feet were now bare and bleeding.

    Lords of the North A. C. Laut
  • He was bootless and a great toe protruded from a hole in the point of his sock.

    The Gold Girl James B. Hendryx
  • Ah, luckless speech, and bootless boast, for which he paid full dear!

British Dictionary definitions for bootless


of little or no use; vain; fruitless: a bootless search
Derived Forms
bootlessly, adverb
Word Origin
Old English bōtlēas, from bōt compensation; Old Norse bótalauss
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 bootless

late Old English botleas "unpardonable, not to be atoned for, without help or remedy," from boot (n.2) + -less. Meaning "useless, unprofitable" is from early 15c.


"lacking boots," late 14c., from boot (n.1) + -less.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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