Synonym Chooser

How is the word nugatory distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of nugatory are empty, hollow, idle, otiose, and vain. While all these words mean "being without worth or significance," nugatory suggests triviality or insignificance.

a monarch with nugatory powers

How do empty and hollow relate to one another, in the sense of nugatory?

Both empty and hollow suggest a deceiving lack of real substance or soundness or genuineness.

an empty attempt at reconciliation
a hollow victory

In what contexts can idle take the place of nugatory?

While in some cases nearly identical to nugatory, idle suggests being incapable of worthwhile use or effect.

idle speculations

When is it sensible to use otiose instead of nugatory?

The synonyms otiose and nugatory are sometimes interchangeable, but otiose suggests that something serves no purpose and is either an encumbrance or a superfluity.

a film without a single otiose scene

When would vain be a good substitute for nugatory?

In some situations, the words vain and nugatory are roughly equivalent. However, vain implies either absolute or relative absence of value.

vain promises

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Cite this Entry

“Nugatory.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/nugatory. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

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