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Famous Last Words


[yoos-lis] /ˈyus lɪs/
of no use; not serving the purpose or any purpose; unavailing or futile:
It is useless to reason with him.
without useful qualities; of no practical good:
a useless person; a useless gadget.
Origin of useless
First recorded in 1585-95; use + -less
Related forms
uselessly, adverb
uselessness, noun
1. fruitless, profitless, valueless, worthless, inutile. Useless, futile, ineffectual, vain refer to that which is unavailing. That is useless which is unavailing because of the circumstances of the case or some inherent defect: It is useless to cry over spilt milk. Futile suggests wasted effort and complete failure to attain a desired end: All attempts were futile. That which is ineffectual weakly applies energy in an ill-advised way and does not produce a desired effect: an ineffectual effort. That which is vain is fruitless or hopeless even after all possible effort: It is vain to keep on hoping. 2. unserviceable, unusable.
1. effective. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for uselessly
Historical Examples
  • Her brother had uselessly hunted for him over land and ocean.

    The Hero of the People Alexandre Dumas
  • It would be hard going, ahead—she must not be uselessly burdened.

    Two Thousand Miles Below Charles Willard Diffin
  • After looking long and uselessly, again and again, the guard and the driver both gave it up.

  • Not half as old as I felt just then; not half as uselessly wise as I knew myself to be.

    Lord Jim Joseph Conrad
  • And this is really what people spent millions of money trying to find, and for which hundreds of lives were uselessly sacrificed.

    The Stories of El Dorado Frona Eunice Wait
  • We cannot go to sea in such weather as this, and get knocked about uselessly.

  • She could not bear to think of the empty sleeve, hanging so uselessly beside his tall athletic figure.

    The World Before Them Susanna Moodie
  • But he could only uselessly repeat: "I'll do anything I can to help you."

    The Reef Edith Wharton
  • I was afraid of uselessly exposing myself to danger to no purpose.

  • I should be the basest of men if I consented to uselessly expose you to danger.

    The Honor of the Name Emile Gaboriau
British Dictionary definitions for uselessly


having no practical use or advantage
(informal) ineffectual, weak, or stupid: he's useless at history
Derived Forms
uselessly, adverb
uselessness, 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 uselessly



1590s, from use (n.) + -less. Related: Uselessly; uselessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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