Word of the Day : March 13, 2012

nugatory

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adjective NOO-guh-tor-ee

Definition

1 : of little or no consequence : trifling, inconsequential

2 : having no force : inoperative

Did You Know?

"Nugatory," which first appeared in English in the 17th century, comes from the Latin adjective "nugatorius" and is ultimately a derivative of the noun "nugae," meaning "trifles." Like its synonyms "vain," "idle," "empty," and "hollow," "nugatory" means "without worth or significance." But while "nugatory" suggests triviality or insignificance ("a monarch with nugatory powers," for example), "vain" implies either absolute or relative absence of value (as in "vain promises"). "Idle" suggests being incapable of worthwhile use or effect (as in "idle speculations"). "Empty" and "hollow" suggest a deceiving lack of real substance or genuineness (as in "an empty attempt at reconciliation" or "a hollow victory").


Examples

The decision to remove such a minor character from the show should have a nugatory impact on its success.

"I had grown up hearing Kenneth Williams and others bemoaning in quavering comic tones the insultingly nugatory fees they had been offered for their services…." - From Stephen Fry's 2010 book The Fry Chronicles : An Autobiography



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