• synonyms


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


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for needlessness

Historical Examples

  • Because we had such an example of the safety of the place and the needlessness of the task?

    Patience Wins

    George Manville Fenn

  • In calmer moments he might have reflected upon the needlessness of it.

  • The needlessness of a universal deluge, as a partial one would have answered all purposes.

  • Then came the strengthening text setting forth God's love for a lost world and the needlessness of perishing.

    The Lumberjack Sky Pilot

    Thomas D. Whittles

  • It is not the custom on the Seward Peninsula to cook for the dogs, and dog mushers there argue the needlessness of that trouble.

British Dictionary definitions for needlessness


  1. not required or desired; unnecessary
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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 needlessness



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper