fu·​til·​i·​ty fyü-ˈti-lə-tē How to pronounce futility (audio)
plural futilities
: the quality or state of being futile : uselessness
His speech focused on the futility of violence.
: a useless act or gesture
the futilities of debate for its own sakeW. A. White

Examples of futility in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Rams and coach Sean McVay last season ended their regular-season futility against the 49ers. Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times, 16 May 2024 How could this early futility not be creeping into her head? Sean Gregory / Uncasville, TIME, 15 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for futility 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'futility.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from French and Latin; French futilité, going back to Middle French, borrowed from Latin fūtilitāt-, fūtilitās (also futtilitāt-, futtilitās) "unprofitableness, uselessness," from fūtilis, futtilis "brittle, fragile (of containers), serving no purpose, pointless" + -itāt- -itās -ity — more at futile

First Known Use

circa 1623, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of futility was circa 1623

Dictionary Entries Near futility

Cite this Entry

“Futility.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/futility. Accessed 30 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


fu·​til·​i·​ty ˌfyu̇-ˈtil-ət-ē How to pronounce futility (audio)
plural futilities
: the quality or state of being futile
: a useless act
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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