use·​ful | \ˈyüs-fəl \

Definition of useful 

1 : capable of being put to use especially : serviceable for an end or purpose useful tools

2 : of a valuable or productive kind do something useful with your life

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Other Words from useful

usefully \ ˈyüs-​fə-​lē \ adverb

Examples of useful in a Sentence

Does anyone have any useful suggestions? It can be useful to know CPR. The Internet is useful for finding information quickly. She has become one of the team's most useful players. Why don't you do something useful with your life?
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Recent Examples on the Web

Yarmush and his team hope portable versions of the device could be useful for EMTs or army medics. Emily Matchar, Smithsonian, "A Robot May One Day Draw Your Blood," 13 July 2018 But overall the test is extremely useful for educators, students and admissions officers alike. WSJ, "Make Students Prove Their Writing Skills," 12 July 2018 That’s useful for, say, landing a rocket back on Earth after launch. Loren Grush, The Verge, "Europe will fire its record-setting big solid rocket motor this week," 11 July 2018 That might sound strange, given that the legislative filibuster is a weapon that is momentarily useful for Democrats. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Chuck Schumer Is Secretly Sabotaging the Next Democratic President," 28 June 2018 Researchers suspect this may be particularly useful for patients with damage to the left side of the brain, because music emphasizes use of the right side of the brain, providing a potential alternate route to develop new nerve pathways. Robert Mccoppin,, "Music Can Call Back Loved Ones Lost In Alzheimer's Darkness," 22 June 2018 Maybe the family separation issue is a cudgel that’s useful for attacking the Trump administration, but which, as a principle, will be abandoned as soon as Democrats retake power in 2021, 2025, or beyond. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Dems are unified on immigration now. Will they still be when Trump is gone?," 20 June 2018 ASICs are also useful for the heavy workloads associated with some forms of AI, such as machine learning. Fortune, "Crypto's 32-Year-Old Billionaire Mining King Jihan Wu Is Mulling IPO," 7 June 2018 Understanding individual proclivities is useful for building a schedule that everyone is happy with. Amy Louise Bailey, Vogue, "How to Master the Art of Group Travel," 7 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'useful.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of useful

1595, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for useful

Last Updated

7 Nov 2018

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The first known use of useful was in 1595

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English Language Learners Definition of useful

: helping to do or achieve something


use·​ful | \ˈyüs-fəl \

Kids Definition of useful

1 : capable of being put to use : usable useful scraps of material

2 : helpful in doing or achieving something If you are ever planning a vacation, you may find it useful to acquire a guidebook …— Lemony Snicket, The Miserable Mill

Other Words from useful

usefully \ -​fə-​lē \ adverb
usefulness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on useful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for useful

Spanish Central: Translation of useful

Nglish: Translation of useful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of useful for Arabic Speakers

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