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[yoos-fuh l] /ˈyus fəl/
being of use or service; serving some purpose; advantageous, helpful, or of good effect:
a useful member of society.
of practical use, as for doing work; producing material results; supplying common needs:
the useful arts; useful work.
Origin of useful
1585-95; use + -ful
Related forms
usefully, adverb
usefulness, noun
unuseful, adjective
unusefully, adverb
unusefulness, noun
1, 2. profitable, efficacious, beneficial.
1, 2. useless. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for useful
  • Many universities have put their career information online, and these sites are useful for anyone seeking an academic job.
  • Yet for all its weirdness, antimatter is real not fictional, and has already proved useful in medicine.
  • Ohm's law is useful to explain currents in copper wires.
  • He was also a useful antidote against a certain strain of biological romanticism.
  • Table-high fireplace is as useful as it is romantic.
  • The capacitive stylus has turned out to be surprisingly useful for a lot of things, but up until now it was never a flirting tool.
  • The program there helps him broaden his skills in entrepreneurship, among other skills useful to an aspiring scientist.
  • But, it turns out, a solar sail need not always be particularly large to be useful.
  • Some people consider hedgehogs useful pets because they prey on many common garden pests.
  • Perhaps it's my way of rebelling against a world in which everything must be useful.
British Dictionary definitions for useful


able to be used advantageously, beneficially, or for several purposes; helpful or serviceable
(informal) commendable or capable: a useful term's work
(Austral, informal) an odd-jobman or general factotum
Derived Forms
usefully, adverb
usefulness, 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 useful

1590s, from use (n.) + -full. Related: Usefully; usefulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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