Synonym Chooser

How is the word otiose distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of otiose are empty, hollow, idle, nugatory, and vain. While all these words mean "being without worth or significance," otiose suggests that something serves no purpose and is either an encumbrance or a superfluity.

a film without a single otiose scene

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

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

an empty attempt at reconciliation
a hollow victory

When might idle be a better fit than otiose?

The synonyms idle and otiose are sometimes interchangeable, but idle suggests being incapable of worthwhile use or effect.

idle speculations

When is it sensible to use nugatory instead of otiose?

Although the words nugatory and otiose have much in common, nugatory suggests triviality or insignificance.

a monarch with nugatory powers

When could vain be used to replace otiose?

The words vain and otiose are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, vain implies either absolute or relative absence of value.

vain promises

Thesaurus Entries Near otiose

Cite this Entry

“Otiose.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on otiose

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!