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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 needlessness
Historical Examples
  • Because we had such an example of the safety of the place and the needlessness of the task?

    Patience Wins George Manville Fenn
  • In calmer moments he might have reflected upon the needlessness of it.

  • The needlessness of a universal deluge, as a partial one would have answered all purposes.

  • Then came the strengthening text setting forth God's love for a lost world and the needlessness of perishing.

    The Lumberjack Sky Pilot Thomas D. Whittles
  • It is not the custom on the Seward Peninsula to cook for the dogs, and dog mushers there argue the needlessness of that trouble.

  • Here had been an unexceptionable Miracle, which no Infidels could have cavil'd at, for any thing, but the needlessness of it.

  • My face expressed a wonder so unaffected that he saw the needlessness of further questions.

    Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson
  • It was almost farcical in its needlessness, and poor Dorothy's part in it of the slightest import.

    Dorothy at Skyrie Evelyn Raymond
  • After regaining his room last night nothing had struck him more forcibly than the needlessness of his words: "Don't cry, Nollie!"

    Saint's Progress John Galsworthy
  • I told the doctor all about the preliminary verbal skirmish and the needlessness of the fight.

    A Mind That Found Itself Clifford Whittingham Beers
British Dictionary definitions for needlessness


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 needlessness



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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