Synonym Chooser

How is the word futile different from other adjectives like it?

The words fruitless and vain are common synonyms of futile. While all three words mean "producing no result," futile may connote completeness of failure or unwisdom of undertaking.

resistance had proved so futile that surrender was the only choice left

How do fruitless and vain relate to one another, in the sense of futile?

Fruitless comes close to vain but often suggests long and arduous effort or severe disappointment.

fruitless efforts to obtain a lasting peace

When could vain be used to replace futile?

The words vain and futile can be used in similar contexts, but vain usually implies simple failure to achieve a desired result.

a vain attempt to get the car started


Thesaurus Entries Near futile

Cite this Entry

“Futile.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/futile. Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

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