• synonyms


[noo-guh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee, nyoo-]
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  1. of no real value; trifling; worthless.
  2. of no force or effect; ineffective; futile; vain.
  3. not valid.
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Origin of nugatory

1595–1605; < Latin nūgātōrius worthless, useless, trifling, equivalent to nūgā(rī) to trifle + -tōrius -tory1


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

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British Dictionary definitions for nugatory


  1. of little value; trifling
  2. not valida nugatory law
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Word Origin

C17: from Latin nūgātōrius, from nūgārī to jest, from nūgae trifles
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 nugatory


"trifling, of no value," c.1600, from Latin nugatorius "worthless, trifling, futile," from nugator "jester, trifler, braggart," from nugatus, past participle of nugari "to trifle, jest, play the fool," from nugæ "jokes, jests, trifles," of unknown origin.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper