futile was our Word of the Day on 06/25/2015. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of futile in a Sentence
In a digitized land of national ID cards, dropping out will be impossible, and dreaming about it will be futile. —Walter Kirn, Atlantic, May 2002
After Redemption and disfranchisement destroyed black political influence, open challenges to white supremacy were futile and dangerous. —Adam Fairclough, Journal of American History, June 2000
In some futile bid for gentility, the management has barred employees from using the front door, so my first day I enter through the kitchen … —Barbara Ehrenreich, Harper's, January 1999
In 1845 explorer Charles Sturt led an expedition through these parts on a futile search for an inland sea. —Thomas O'Neill, National Geographic, April 1997
All our efforts proved futile.
a futile and foolish gesture
Recent Examples of futile from the Web
The mother of the bride doesn’t know that the wedding is all a big joke and a charade and a futile attempt to wring meaning from banality.
And without international support, unilateral U.S. sanctions would be futile.
Hagedorn brushes off criticism that such species-specific work is futile in the face of global threats to reefs.
He is accused of feeding false information to officials in an ultimately futile attempt to prevent them from discovering Volkswagen’s fraud.
His military has saved Bashar al-Assad’s regime, making a mockery of the America’s futile attempts to bring the war in Syria to an end.
Existing as billionaire, an entrepreneur, without acknowledging that he's accomplished it as a black man would be futile.
But the mild-mannered 69-year-old politician realized traditional forms of resistance were futile after Erdogan narrowly won a referendum in April to vastly expand his powers over government, parliament and the judiciary.
Housewives surrendered their gold jewelry in a gallant, but futile attempt to restore the nation’s solvency.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'futile.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
futile Has a Leaky Past
Futile floated into the English language in the mid-16th century from Middle French, where it took shape from the Latin adjective futilis, meaning "that easily pours out or "leaky." That leak of information lets you in on how "futile" developed its "ineffective" and "frivolous" meanings: things that are leaky are of no use. In 1827, English author Robert Southey found use for the word by flowing it into "utilitarian" to form "futilitarian," a word that is used today for anyone who believes that human striving is futile.
Synonym Discussion of futile
FUTILE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of futile for English Language Learners
: having no result or effect : pointless or useless
FUTILE Defined for Kids
Definition of futile for Students
: having no result or effect Their efforts to win were futile.
Seen and Heard
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