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[need-lis] /ˈnid lɪs/
unnecessary; not needed or wanted:
a needless waste of food.
Origin of needless
1175-1225; Middle English nedles. See need, -less
Related forms
needlessly, adverb
needlessness, noun
unessential, gratuitous, pointless, uncalled-for. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for needlessly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Some of the ward doctors are careless, rude, capricious, needlessly strict.

    The Wound Dresser Walt Whitman
  • The adverbial adjective "needlessly" explains the broad distinction.

    Shoulder-Straps Henry Morford
  • She rose in a nervous flutter when she saw him; yet needlessly shrill in her defence, because she was angry at detection.

    The House with the Green Shutters George Douglas Brown
  • She was a gifted singer, surely, and was needlessly healthy.

  • No doubt he wished to assure himself of the extent of the disaster, in order not to alarm you needlessly.

    The Destroyer Burton Egbert Stevenson
British Dictionary definitions for needlessly


not required or desired; unnecessary
Derived Forms
needlessly, adverb
needlessness, 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
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Word Origin and History for needlessly



c.1300, "not needed, unnecessary," from need (n) + -less. Related: Needlessly. Phrase needless to say or speak is recorded from early 16c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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