[ noo-guh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee, nyoo- ]
/ ˈnu gəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i, ˈnyu- /


of no real value; trifling; worthless.
of no force or effect; ineffective; futile; vain.
not valid.

Nearby words

  1. nufud,
  2. nug,
  3. nugacious,
  4. nugacity,
  5. nugae,
  6. nuggar,
  7. nugget,
  8. nuggety,
  9. nuggie,
  10. nuisance

Origin of nugatory

1595–1605; < Latin nūgātōrius worthless, useless, trifling, equivalent to nūgā(rī) to trifle + -tōrius -tory1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nugatory

British Dictionary definitions for nugatory


/ (ˈnjuːɡətərɪ, -trɪ) /


of little value; trifling
not valida nugatory law

Word Origin for nugatory

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper