- incapable of producing any result; ineffective; useless; not successful: Attempting to force-feed the sick horse was futile.
- trifling; frivolous; unimportant.
Origin of futile
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for futile
LONDON—You want to know how awful, futile, and dehumanizing war is?‘Fury’: A Ludicrous WWII Movie More Violent Than ‘Inglourious Basterds’
October 20, 2014
As a result, his rep rehab remains a lonely and futile mission.Three Dicks: Cheney, Nixon, Richard III and the Art of Reputation Rehab
July 27, 2014
The absurdity of North Korea now extends to its futile attempt to anticipate the whims of Mother Nature.Kim Jong-un Wants a New Doppler 2000
June 14, 2014
Their hope that this means the spotlight stays off them, however, will be futile: Brutally put, the papers prefer them to Charles.Calm Down, Prince George Is Just a Baby
April 16, 2014
When he finally became president, Nixon walked away from that war to prolong a futile one half a world away.100 Years of Right (And Left) Moves
March 31, 2014
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.
But his well-meant attempt to assuage the stricken creature's wo was futile.
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
- having no effective result; unsuccessful
- pointless; unimportant; trifling
- inane or foolishdon't be so futile!
Word Origin and History for futile
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.