Try Our Apps


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.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for uselessness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • For though she knew the uselessness of the vigil proposed to her, she none the less determined to complete it.

    The Sword of Damocles Anna Katharine Green
  • Roosevelt laughed at that, and said no more concerning the uselessness of his existence.

  • Though you condemn me to a life of uselessness on scant evidence.

    The Clarion Samuel Hopkins Adams
  • He had no intention of going back on his bargain, despite the uselessness of it.

    Antony Gray,--Gardener Leslie Moore
  • But the victors were soon to learn the uselessness of merely military triumphs in Egypt.

  • Be it so; but this does not prove that the uselessness of a sensation is synonymous with insensibility.

    The Mind and the Brain Alfred Binet
  • Milton Hamar left before dinner, having been convinced at last of the uselessness of his visit.

    The Man of the Desert Grace Livingston Hill
  • Only last summer taught me the uselessness of an extra pair of trousers.

    The Forest Stewart Edward White
  • She stood silent and I strove by peering about to discover some marks of guidance, only to learn the uselessness of the effort.

    The Devil's Own Randall Parrish
British Dictionary definitions for uselessness


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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for uselessness



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for useless

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for uselessness

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for uselessness