1 : producing no useful result : futile
2 : being at leisure : idle
3 : lacking use or effect : functionless
Did You Know?
Otiose was first used in English in the late-18th century to describe things producing no useful result. By mid-19th century, it was being used in keeping with its Latin source otiosus, meaning "at leisure." There is also the noun form otiosity, which predates otiose by approximately three centuries. That noun is rarely found in writing today, but it makes an appearance on the occasional spelling bee word list.
"Ever since I was seven years old, I have been collecting books and articles on the Great Flood, hoping to write the full account myself. David McCullough's The Johnstown Flood (1968) was so brilliant that it rendered my own ambition otiose." — Michael Novak, National Review, 4 June 2014
"He did not have the patience for otiose people like Gibson, whom he put in the same category as those rude reporters who continued to pester him daily with inane queries and ridiculous suggestions." — Godfrey Wray, Beyond Revenge, 2008
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
What synonym of otiose begins with "v" and can also describe a person who is conceited?VIEW THE ANSWER
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