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[need-lis] /ˈnid lɪs/
unnecessary; not needed or wanted:
a needless waste of food.
Origin of needless
First recorded in 1175-1225, needless is from the Middle English word nedles. See need, -less
Related forms
needlessly, adverb
needlessness, noun
unessential, gratuitous, pointless, uncalled-for. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for needlessly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His mother, Mrs. Goddard of Madison Square, was not needlessly alarmed.

    Melomaniacs James Huneker
  • He will say nothing to hurt me needlessly; nor is it in his nature to do so.

    The Fortunes Of Glencore Charles James Lever
  • The adverbial adjective "needlessly" explains the broad distinction.

    Shoulder-Straps Henry Morford
  • I want you to convince him of this, and to beg him not to spend money so needlessly.

    Doctor Luttrell's First Patient

    Rosa Nouchette Carey
  • Luther, who did not comprehend his motive, was needlessly angry.

    Short Studies on Great Subjects James Anthony Froude
British Dictionary definitions for needlessly


not required or desired; unnecessary
Derived Forms
needlessly, adverb
needlessness, 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 needlessly



c.1300, "not needed, unnecessary," from need (n) + -less. Related: Needlessly. Phrase needless to say or speak is recorded from early 16c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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