unnecessary; not needed or wanted: a needless waste of food.

Origin of needless

First recorded in 1175–1225, needless is from the Middle English word nedles. See need, -less
Related formsneed·less·ly, adverbneed·less·ness, noun

Synonyms for needless Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for needlessly

Contemporary Examples of needlessly

Historical Examples of needlessly

  • His mother, Mrs. Goddard of Madison Square, was not needlessly alarmed.


    James Huneker

  • He will say nothing to hurt me needlessly; nor is it in his nature to do so.

    The Fortunes Of Glencore

    Charles James Lever

  • The adverbial adjective "needlessly" explains the broad distinction.


    Henry Morford

  • I want you to convince him of this, and to beg him not to spend money so needlessly.

  • Luther, who did not comprehend his motive, was needlessly angry.

British Dictionary definitions for needlessly



not required or desired; unnecessary
Derived Formsneedlessly, adverbneedlessness, 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

Word Origin and History for needlessly



c.1300, "not needed, unnecessary," from need (n) + -less. Related: Needlessly. Phrase needless to say or speak is recorded from early 16c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper