Definition of futile in English:


Pronunciation: /ˈfyo͞odl//ˈfyo͞odīl/


  • Incapable of producing any useful result; pointless.

    ‘a futile attempt to keep fans from mounting the stage’
    • ‘If the West's behaviour is futile, it is because the tide of history is against it.’
    • ‘I could get so accustomed to his company, which is futile since he heads away late next week.’
    • ‘I glanced carelessly at the door, in a futile attempt to change the subject.’
    • ‘Such is the nature of journalism and it is perhaps futile to bemoan it.’
    • ‘She is given a terminal diagnosis and told treatment is futile by a consultant as soon as the results are revealed.’
    • ‘A lack of evidence in absence of harm cannot be interpreted as useless or futile.’
    • ‘So it's a futile effort to try to climb up to God, which is why he sent his son to be our savior.’
    • ‘Tourism should not be allowed to become another football for the tiresome and futile political arena.’
    • ‘They do not show an act of suicide but an attempt, however futile, to escape death.’
    • ‘It will be futile and fruitless, but at least it will voice my opinion and ease some of my frustrations.’
    • ‘I am sorry that I missed my chance this evening to register my protest, futile though it would have been.’
    • ‘It is futile because we cannot fully join the ranks and chase what is called the American Dream.’
    • ‘Worrying over the results after the exam is a futile exercise as you cannot alter the result.’
    • ‘Everyone could sense it was futile, but at least for half an hour they got a chance at some semblance of competition.’
    • ‘Although residents put up pockets of resistance, their attempts were largely futile.’
    • ‘You shift from one leg to the other, but know that that is a fairly futile attempt to relieve your discomfort.’
    • ‘His men made repeated but ultimately futile attempts to retrieve his body from no-man's land.’
    • ‘Resistance was futile, and over time many grew to love their new mechanical master.’
    • ‘All attempts to coax him to play with educational toys proved painful and futile.’
    • ‘Therefore, the whole political campaign against the extreme right is futile.’
    fruitless, vain, pointless
    useless, worthless, ineffectual, ineffective, inefficacious, to no effect, of no use, in vain, to no avail, unavailing
    unsuccessful, failed, thwarted
    unproductive, barren, unprofitable, abortive
    impotent, hollow, empty, forlorn, idle, sterile, nugatory, valueless
    hopeless, doomed, lost
    no good to gundy
    View synonyms


Mid 16th century: from Latin futilis leaky, futile apparently from fundere pour.