Definition of futile in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfyo͞odl/
Pronunciation: /ˈfyo͞odīl/


Incapable of producing any useful result; pointless: a futile attempt to keep fans from mounting the stage
More example sentences
  • Although residents put up pockets of resistance, their attempts were largely futile.
  • You shift from one leg to the other, but know that that is a fairly futile attempt to relieve your discomfort.
  • They do not show an act of suicide but an attempt, however futile, to escape death.
fruitless, vain, pointless, useless, ineffectual, ineffective, inefficacious, to no effect, of no use, in vain, to no avail, unavailing;
unsuccessful, failed, thwarted;
unproductive, barren, unprofitable, abortive;
impotent, hollow, empty, forlorn, idle, hopeless
archaic bootless



Pronunciation: /ˈfyo͞odl(l)ē/
Example sentences
  • Most days at least one gets itself stuck in the house, usually trying valiantly but ultimately futilely to fly through one of our closed windows.
  • And I did spend a lot of time futilely trying to talk to the FBI press office about the flight.
  • With each retelling, the story of the men who died gloriously but futilely just a few miles from help has seemed increasingly ridiculous.


Mid 16th century: from Latin futilis 'leaky, futile', apparently from fundere 'pour'.

Words that rhyme with futile

butyl, rutile, utile

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fu·tile

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