futile
adjective Etymology: Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin futilis brittle, pointless, probably from fu- (akin to fundere to pour) — more at found Date: circa 1555 1. serving no useful purpose ; completely ineffective <
efforts to convince him were futile
>
2. occupied with trifles ; frivolousfutilely adverbfutileness noun Synonyms: futile, vain, fruitless mean producing no result. futile may connote completeness of failure or unwisdom of undertaking <
resistance had proved so futile that surrender was the only choice left
>
. vain usually implies simple failure to achieve a desired result <
a vain attempt to get the car started
>
. fruitless comes close to vain but often suggests long and arduous effort or severe disappointment <
fruitless efforts to obtain a lasting peace
>
.

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • futile — [ fytil ] adj. • XIVe; lat. futilis 1 ♦ Qui est dépourvu de sérieux, qui ne mérite pas qu on s y arrête. ⇒ insignifiant. Discours, propos futiles. ⇒ creux, frivole, vain, vide. Sous le prétexte le plus futile. ⇒ léger; puéril. S occuper de choses …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • futile — futile, vain, fruitless, bootless, abortive all denote barren of result. Futile and vain parallel each other only when they imply failure to realize an immediate aim {it was equally in vain, and he soon wearied of his futile vigilance Stevenson}… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Futile — Fu tile (?; 277), a. [L. futilis that easily pours out, that easily lets loose, vain, worthless, from the root of fundere to pour out: cf. F. futile. See {Fuse}, v. t.] [1913 Webster] 1. Talkative; loquacious; tattling. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • futile — [fyo͞ot′ l; ] chiefly Brit & Cdn [, fyo͞o′tīl΄] adj. [< Fr or L: Fr futile < L futilis, lit., that easily pours out, hence untrustworthy, worthless, futile < base of fundere: see FOUND3] 1. a) that could not succeed; useless; vain b)… …   English World dictionary

  • futile — I adjective abortive, barren, bootless, feckless, fruitless, futilis, gainless, hopeless, inanis, ineffective, ineffectual, inefficacious, insignificant, inutile, nugatory, otiose, profitless, resultless, unavailing, unfruitful, unimportant,… …   Law dictionary

  • futile — 1550s, from M.Fr. futile, from L. futilis vain, worthless, futile, lit. pouring out easily (of a vessel), hence easily emptied, leaky, unreliable, from base of fundere pour, melt, from PIE root *gheu to pour (see FOUND (Cf. found) (2)). Related:… …   Etymology dictionary

  • futile — FUTILE. adj. de tout genre. Frivole, Qui est de peu de consequence, de peu de consideration. Raison futile. discours futile …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • futile — / futile/ agg. [dal lat. futĭlis, propr. che lascia scorrere ]. 1. [privo di profondità, di scarsa serietà: argomenti, discorsi f. ] ▶◀ e ◀▶ [➨ frivolo (1)]. 2. [di scarso peso, di poca importanza: litigare per f. motivi ] ▶◀ banale,… …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • futile — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ producing no useful result; pointless. DERIVATIVES futilely adverb futility noun. ORIGIN Latin futilis leaky, futile …   English terms dictionary

  • Futĭle — (röm. Ant.), Opfergefäße in dem Tempel der Vesta, ohne Füße …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • FUTILE — Lutatio ad Stat. Theb. l. 7. v. 297. vas fuit lato ove, quo utebantur in sacris Deae Vestae; quia aqua ad sacra Vestae in terra non ponitur, quod si fiat, piaculumest, ideo excogitatum est vas, quod stare non posset, sed si positum statim… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

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