boot·​less ˈbüt-ləs How to pronounce bootless (audio)
: useless, unprofitable
a bootless attempt
bootlessly adverb
bootlessness noun

Did you know?

This sense of bootless has nothing to do with footwear. The "boot" in this case is an obsolete noun that meant "use" or "avail." That boot descended from Old English bōt and is ultimately related to our modern word better, whose remote Germanic ancestor meant literally "of more use." Of course, English does also see the occasional use of bootless to mean simply "lacking boots," as Anne Brontë used the word in Agnes Grey (1847): "And what would their parents think of me, if they saw or heard the children rioting, hatless, bonnetless, gloveless, and bootless, in the deep soft snow?"

Examples of bootless in a Sentence

a bootless effort to get tickets to the sold-out game

Word History


boot entry 1 + -less

First Known Use

1559, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bootless was in 1559


Dictionary Entries Near bootless

Cite this Entry

“Bootless.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


boot·​less ˈbüt-ləs How to pronounce bootless (audio)
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