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[mee-ning-lis] /ˈmi nɪŋ lɪs/
without meaning, significance, purpose, or value; purposeless; insignificant:
a meaningless reply; a meaningless existence.
Origin of meaningless
First recorded in 1790-1800; meaning + -less
Related forms
meaninglessly, adverb
meaninglessness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for meaningless
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I need not tell you that to me reformations in morals are as meaningless and vulgar as Reformations in theology.

    De Profundis Oscar Wilde
  • The metaphor might be meaningless; but it struck him it was strong.

  • The sobriquet had hitherto been a mere shadow, a meaningless thing, to me.

    The First Violin Jessie Fothergill
  • The figures of the Light-year dials were meaningless to his comprehension.

    The World Beyond Raymond King Cummings
  • He had no mind to spend the day at her fireside in pleasant, meaningless talk.

    St. Martin's Summer Rafael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for meaningless


futile or empty of meaning
Derived Forms
meaninglessly, adverb
meaninglessness, noun
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 meaningless

1730, from meaning + -less. Related: Meaninglessly; meaninglessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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