Roget's Thesaurus: Entry 645 (Inutility)

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#645. Inutility. -- N. inutility; uselessness &c. adj.; inefficacy[obs], futility; ineptitude, inaptitude; unsubservience[obs]; inadequacy &c. (insufficiency) 640; inefficiency.&c. (incompetence) 158; unskillfulness &c. 699; disservice; unfruitfulness &c.(unproductiveness). 169; labor in vain, labor lost, labor of Sisyphus; lost trouble, lost labor; work of Penelope; sleeveless errand, wild goose chase, mere farce.

tautology &c. (repetition) 104; supererogation &c. (redundancy) 641.

vanitas vanitatum[Lat], vanity, inanity, worthlessness, nugacity[obs]; triviality &c. (unimportance) 643.

caput mortuum[Lat][obs], waste paper, dead letter; blunt tool.

litter, rubbish, junk, lumber, odds and ends, cast-off clothes; button top; shoddy; rags, orts[obs], trash, refuse, sweepings, scourings, offscourings[obs], waste, rubble, debris, detritus; stubble, leavings; broken meat; dregs &c. (dirt) 653; weeds, tares; rubbish heap, dust hole; rudera[obs], deads[obs].

fruges consumere natus &c. (drone) 683[Lat][Horace].

V. be useless &c. Adj.; go a begging &c. (redundant) 641; fail &c. 732.

seek after impossibilities, strive after impossibilities; use vain efforts, labor in vain, roll the stone of Sisyphus, beat the air, lash the waves, battre l'eau avec un baton[Fr], donner un coup d'epee dans l'eau[Fr], fish in the air, milk the ram, drop a bucket into an empty well, sow the sand; bay the moon; preach to the winds, speak to the winds; whistle jigs to a milestone; kick against the pricks, se battre contre des moulins[Fr]; lock the stable door when the steed is stolen, lock the barn door after the horse is stolen &c. (too late) 135; hold a farthing candle to the sun; cast pearls before swine &c. (waste) 638; carry coals to Newcastle &c. (redundancy) 641; wash a blackamoor white &c. (impossible) 471.

render useless &c. adj.; dismantle, dismast, dismount, disqualify, disable; unrig; cripple, lame &c. (injure) 659; spike guns, clip the wings; put out of gear.

Adj. useless, inutile, inefficacious, futile, unavailing, bootless; inoperative &c. 158; inadequate &c. (insufficient) 640; inservient|, unsubservient; inept, inefficient &c. (impotent) 158; of no avail &c. (use) 644; ineffectual &c. (failure) 732; incompetent &c. (unskillful) 699; " stale, flat and unprofitable"; superfluous &c. (redundant) 641; dispensable; thrown away &c. (wasted) 638; abortive &c. (immature) 674.

worthless, valueless, priceless; unsalable; not worth a straw &c. (trifling) 643 dear at any price.

vain, empty, inane; gainless[obs], profitless, fruitless; unserviceable, unprofitable; ill-spent; unproductive &c. 169; hors de combat[Fr]; effete, past work &c. (impaired) 659; obsolete &c. (old) 124; fit for the dust hole; good for nothing; of no earthly use; not worth having, not worth powder and shot; leading to no end, uncalled for; unnecessary, unneeded.

Adv. uselessly &c. adj.; to little purpose, to no purpose, to little or no purpose.

Int. cui bono?[Lat]; what's the good!

Phr. actum ne agas[Lat][obs]; chercher une aiguille dans une botte de foin[obs][Fr]; tanto buon che val niente[It].