[ fyoot-l, fyoo-tahyl ]
/ ˈfyut l, ˈfyu taɪl /


incapable of producing any result; ineffective; useless; not successful: Attempting to force-feed the sick horse was futile.
trifling; frivolous; unimportant.

Origin of futile

1545–55; < Latin fūtilis, futtilis easily broken, vain, worthless, equivalent to fūt- (akin to fundere to pour, melt) + -ilis -ile

Related forms

fu·tile·ly, adverbfu·tile·ness, nounnon·fu·tile, adjectiveun·fu·tile, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for futile

British Dictionary definitions for futile


/ (ˈfjuːtaɪl) /


having no effective result; unsuccessful
pointless; unimportant; trifling
inane or foolishdon't be so futile!

Derived Forms

futilely, adverbfutileness, noun

Word Origin for futile

C16: from Latin futtilis pouring out easily, worthless, from fundere to pour out
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