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See more synonyms for useless on Thesaurus.com
  1. of no use; not serving the purpose or any purpose; unavailing or futile: It is useless to reason with him.
  2. without useful qualities; of no practical good: a useless person; a useless gadget.
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Origin of useless

First recorded in 1585–95; use + -less
Related formsuse·less·ly, adverbuse·less·ness, noun


See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. fruitless, profitless, valueless, worthless, inutile. Useless, futile, ineffectual, vain refer to that which is unavailing. That is useless which is unavailing because of the circumstances of the case or some inherent defect: It is useless to cry over spilt milk. Futile suggests wasted effort and complete failure to attain a desired end: All attempts were futile. That which is ineffectual weakly applies energy in an ill-advised way and does not produce a desired effect: an ineffectual effort. That which is vain is fruitless or hopeless even after all possible effort: It is vain to keep on hoping. 2. unserviceable, unusable.


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

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Examples from the Web for uselessly

Historical Examples

  • It would be hard going, ahead—she must not be uselessly burdened.

    Two Thousand Miles Below

    Charles Willard Diffin

  • Not half as old as I felt just then; not half as uselessly wise as I knew myself to be.

    Lord Jim

    Joseph Conrad

  • We cannot go to sea in such weather as this, and get knocked about uselessly.

  • I cannot uselessly expose the lives of my crew in so hopeless an undertaking.

    The Three Commanders

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • Edmondstone tried to protest against this also, but uselessly.

    "Le Monsieur De La Petite Dame"

    Frances Hodgson Burnett

British Dictionary definitions for uselessly


  1. having no practical use or advantage
  2. informal ineffectual, weak, or stupidhe's useless at history
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Derived Formsuselessly, adverbuselessness, 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 uselessly



1590s, from use (n.) + -less. Related: Uselessly; uselessness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper