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futile

[fyoot-l, fyoo-tahyl] /ˈfyut l, ˈfyu taɪl/
adjective
1.
incapable of producing any result; ineffective; useless; not successful:
Attempting to force-feed the sick horse was futile.
2.
trifling; frivolous; unimportant.
Origin of futile
1545-1555
1545-55; < Latin fūtilis, futtilis easily broken, vain, worthless, equivalent to fūt- (akin to fundere to pour, melt) + -ilis -ile
Related forms
futilely, adverb
futileness, noun
nonfutile, adjective
unfutile, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for futile
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The effort to make them "disgorge" is as continual as it is noisy, and, as a rule, futile.

    'Tis Sixty Years Since Charles Francis Adams
  • So, she fought no more, but left destiny to work its will unhampered by her futile strivings.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • But his well-meant attempt to assuage the stricken creature's wo was futile.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • He felt suddenly young and futile; his just rage turned to blustering in his ears.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • He should therefore smile at the futile attempt to excite his jealousy.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
British Dictionary definitions for futile

futile

/ˈfjuːtaɪl/
adjective
1.
having no effective result; unsuccessful
2.
pointless; unimportant; trifling
3.
inane or foolish: don't be so futile!
Derived Forms
futilely, adverb
futileness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin futtilis pouring out easily, worthless, from fundere to pour out
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 futile
adj.

1550s, from Middle French futile, from Latin futilis "vain, worthless, futile," literally "pouring out easily" (of a vessel), hence "easily emptied, leaky, unreliable," from base of fundere "pour, melt," from PIE root *gheu- "to pour" (see found (v.2)). Related: Futilely.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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