[pur-puh s-lis]


having no purpose or apparent meaning.
having no aim or goal; aimless: to lead a purposeless existence.

Origin of purposeless

First recorded in 1545–55; purpose + -less
Related formspur·pose·less·ly, adverbpur·pose·less·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for purposeless

Contemporary Examples of purposeless

Historical Examples of purposeless

  • It is possible for action to be at once intentional and purposeless.

  • And he thought of his own condition—very hopeless and purposeless as it was.

    Lord Kilgobbin

    Charles Lever

  • To take to the mountains would have been a purposeless folly.

    In Direst Peril

    David Christie Murray

  • It seems to be a habit of Munich trains to start off in this purposeless way.

    Diary of a Pilgrimage

    Jerome K. Jerome

  • He went as slowly as we, with an indescribable, purposeless gait.


    Elizabeth Wetherell

British Dictionary definitions for purposeless



having no fixed plan or intention
Derived Formspurposelessly, adverbpurposelessness, 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 purposeless

1550s, from purpose (n.) + -less. Related: Purposelessly; purposelessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper