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[fyoo-til-i-tee] /fyuˈtɪl ɪ ti/
noun, plural futilities for 2, 3.
the quality of being futile; ineffectiveness; uselessness.
a trifle or frivolity:
the large collection of futilities that clutter our minds.
a futile act or event.
Origin of futility
1615-25; < Latin fūtilitās. See futile, -ity Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for futility
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He had too clear and too well-trained a mind not to see the futility of attempting to thwart the boy's inclinations.

    'As Gold in the Furnace' John E. Copus
  • A little thought, however, convinced him of the futility of this method.

    Bones Edgar Wallace
  • And he saw both the futility and the danger of remaining where he was.

    The Shadow Arthur Stringer
  • "You might say the warden's career has been twenty years of futility," he muttered.

    Criminal Negligence Jesse Francis McComas
  • He realized his motive suddenly, and realized too the futility of it.

    Homo Inferior Mari Wolf
British Dictionary definitions for futility


noun (pl) -ties
lack of effectiveness or success
lack of purpose or meaning
something futile
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 futility

1620s, from French futilité or directly from Latin futilitatem (nominative futilitas) "worthlessness," from futilis (see futile). Hence, jocular futilitarian (1827).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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