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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for purposeless
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The purposeless life that he had led seemed now an insult to his manhood.

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

    Eight Keys to Eden Mark Irvin Clifton
  • The sport is so mean, so trivial, so purposeless, that I should go a long way to avoid seeing it now that I know the subject well.

    The Chequers James Runciman
  • When we separated for the night, I felt that my going to bed would be purposeless.

    A Stable for Nightmares J. Sheridan Le Fanu
  • Who was he and what was the motive of this apparently foolhardy and purposeless piece of bravado?

    Colonel Thomas Blood Wilbur Cortez Abbott
  • And he thought of his own condition—very hopeless and purposeless as it was.

    Lord Kilgobbin Charles Lever
  • As she thought of it, in all its terrible import, her own soul turned faint, and her fingers grew limp and purposeless.

    The Night Riders Henry C. Wood
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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