use·​ful | \ ˈyüs-fəl How to pronounce useful (audio) \

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 How to pronounce usefully (audio) \ 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 Horse-race coverage frequently crowds out more useful reporting on the issues and the character of the candidates. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, "Please, Reporters, Stop Asking Candidates Horse-Race Questions," 30 Jan. 2020 That jurisdictional oddity proved useful when Prohibition rolled around in 1920. Gregory Thomas,, "Dining at Kirkwood Inn a lesson in California history," 29 Jan. 2020 Since Palmroth and her colleagues published their findings, they have been contacted by skywatchers in the U.S. and Canada who have reported other instances of the dunes, which could prove useful as the scientists look to expand their research. NBC News, "A new aurora? Researchers say 'the dunes' aren't like the usual lights in the sky," 29 Jan. 2020 Winner: Platinum Card from American Express, since its hotel benefits will be more useful and more valuable to frequent travelers. Eric Rosen, Condé Nast Traveler, "AmEx Platinum vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve—What's the Better Travel Card?," 14 Jan. 2020 The algorithms may also prove useful for improving the vision of drones and autonomous vehicles that see objects in 3D, and for detecting patterns in data gathered from the irregularly curved surfaces of hearts, brains or other organs. Quanta Magazine, "An Idea From Physics Helps AI See in Higher Dimensions," 9 Jan. 2020 Illuminating a medieval masterpiece AI techniques are also proving useful in art conservation efforts. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "How AI helps unlock the secrets of Old Master and modernist paintings," 27 Dec. 2019 Gaining trivial knowledge could prove useful in the future. Magi Helena, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Dec. 9, 2019: Happy birthday Simon Helberg; Pisces, put priorities in order," 9 Dec. 2019 The two actually aren't connected in any useful or meaningful way: How each person approaches love is unique, and can't be compared one for one. The Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax Live (Jan 24)," 24 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for useful

Time Traveler

The first known use of useful was in 1595

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Last Updated

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Useful.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce useful (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of useful

: helping to do or achieve something


use·​ful | \ ˈyüs-fəl How to pronounce useful (audio) \

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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Britannica English: Translation of useful for Arabic Speakers

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