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[pur-puh s-lis] /ˈpɜr pəs lɪs/
having no purpose or apparent meaning.
having no aim or goal; aimless:
to lead a purposeless existence.
Origin of purposeless
First recorded in 1545-55; purpose + -less
Related forms
purposelessly, adverb
purposelessness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for purposeless
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is possible for action to be at once intentional and purposeless.

  • And he thought of his own condition—very hopeless and purposeless as it was.

    Lord Kilgobbin Charles Lever
  • To take to the mountains would have been a purposeless folly.

    In Direst Peril David Christie Murray
  • It seems to be a habit of Munich trains to start off in this purposeless way.

    Diary of a Pilgrimage Jerome K. Jerome
  • He went as slowly as we, with an indescribable, purposeless gait.

    Daisy Elizabeth Wetherell
  • In the monotony of a purposeless existence, most humans do no more than that.

    Eight Keys to Eden Mark Irvin Clifton
  • Our dip into the early history of South Africa is not purposeless.

British Dictionary definitions for purposeless


having no fixed plan or intention
Derived Forms
purposelessly, adverb
purposelessness, 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 purposeless

1550s, from purpose (n.) + -less. Related: Purposelessly; purposelessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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