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futile

[fyoot-l, fyoo-tahyl] /ˈfyut l, ˈfyu taɪl/
adjective
1.
incapable of producing any result; ineffective; useless; not successful:
Attempting to force-feed the sick horse was futile.
2.
trifling; frivolous; unimportant.
Origin
1545-1555
1545-55; < Latin fūtilis, futtilis easily broken, vain, worthless, equivalent to fūt- (akin to fundere to pour, melt) + -ilis -ile
Related forms
futilely, adverb
futileness, noun
nonfutile, adjective
unfutile, adjective
Synonyms
1. See useless.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for futile
  • Those efforts proved futile, and he let his hair grow.
  • To critique how the dinosaurs and monsters were drawn would be a futile exercise.
  • Steering her was futile, and the vessel slid slowly down the wall of the gyre.
  • Two million people wandered the country in a futile quest for work.
  • Many thought it was futile, that the whole settlement of the area had been a mistake.
  • The idea of remaking it shot-for-shot seems both preposterous and futile.
  • After that, the realization set in that waiting for rescue was futile.
  • Though our efforts here may seem futile at times, they are making a difference.
  • The whine of a wood-milling machine made it futile to talk.
  • The wound ultimately killed him, but not before he was able to scurry up the mountain in a futile attempt at escape.
British Dictionary definitions for futile

futile

/ˈfjuːtaɪl/
adjective
1.
having no effective result; unsuccessful
2.
pointless; unimportant; trifling
3.
inane or foolish: don't be so futile!
Derived Forms
futilely, adverb
futileness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin futtilis pouring out easily, worthless, from fundere to pour out
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
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Word Origin and History for futile
adj.

1550s, from Middle French futile, from Latin futilis "vain, worthless, futile," literally "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 (v.2)). Related: Futilely.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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