Reference > Roget’s > International Thesaurus > 645. Inutility.
Mawson, C.O.S., ed. (1870–1938). Roget’s International Thesaurus. 1922.
Class V. Words Releasing to the Voluntary Powers
Division (I) Individual Volition
Section II. Prospective Volition
2. Degree of Subservience
645. Inutility.
NOUN:INUTILITY; uselessness &c. adj.; inefficacy, futility; ineptitude, inaptitude; inadequacy (insufficiency) [See Insufficiency]; unfitness; inefficiency (incompetence) [See Impotence]; unskillfulness [See Unskillfulness]; disservice; unfruitfulness (unproductiveness) [See Unproductiveness]; labor -in vain, - lost, - of Sisyphus; lost -trouble, - labor; work of Penelope; Penelope’s web; sleeveless [obs.] -, bootless- errand; wild-goose chase, mere farce.
  REDUNDANCE, supererogation [See Redundance]; tautology (repetition) [See Repetition].
  WORTHLESSNESS; vanity, vanitas vanitatum [L.], inanity, nugacity; triviality (unimportance) [See Unimportance].
  worthless residue, caput mortuum [L., old chem.]; waste paper, dead letter; blunt tool.
  RUBBISH, junk, lumber, litter, odds and ends, cast-off clothes; button top; shoddy; rags, orts [archaic], leavings, dross, trash, refuse, sweepings, scourings, offscourings, waste, rubble, débris [F.]; chaff, stubble, broken meat; dregs (dirt) [See Uncleanness]; weeds, tares; rubbish heap, dust hole; rudera [L.], deads, slag.
  IDLER; fruges consumere natus [Horace] (drone) [See Inactivity].
VERB:BE USELESS &c. adj.; go a-begging (redundant) [See Redundance]; fail [See Failure].
  LABOR IN VAIN; seek -, strive- after impossibilities; use vain efforts, roll the stone of Sisyphus, beat the air, lash the waves, battre l’eau avec un bâton [F.], donner un coup d’épée dans l’eau [F.], fish in the air, milk the ram, drop a bucket into an empty well, pour water into a sieve, sow the sand; bay the moon; preach -, speak- to the winds; whistle jigs to a milestone; kick against the pricks, se battre contre des moulins [F.]; lock the stable door when the steed is stolen (too late) [See Intempestivity]; hold a farthing candle to the sun; cast pearls before swine (waste) [See Waste]; carry coals to Newcastle (redundance) [See Redundance]; wash a blackamoor white (impossible) [See Impossibility].
  RENDER USELESS &c. adj.; dismantle, dismast, dismount, disqualify, disable; unrig [chiefly naut.]; hamstring, hock or hough, cripple, lame (injure) [See Deterioration]; spike guns, clip the wings; put out of gear; throw a wrench in the machinery, throw a monkey-wrench into the works.
ADJECTIVE:USELESS, inutile, nugatory, inefficacious, futile, unavailing, bootless; inoperative [See Impotence]; inadequate (insufficient) [See Insufficiency]; inservient [obs.], inept, inefficient (impotent) [See Impotence]; of no avail (use) [See Utility]; ineffectual [See failure]; incompetent (unskillful) [See Unskillfulness]; “weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable” [Hamlet]; superfluous (redundant) [See Redundance]; dispensable; thrown away (wasted) [See Waste]; abortive (immature) [See Nonpreparation].
  WORTHLESS, valueless, unsalable; not worth a straw (trifling) [See Unimportance]; dear at any price.
  VAIN, empty, inane; gainless, profitless, fruitless; unserviceable, unprofitable; ill-spent; effete, barren, sterile, impotent, worn out; unproductive [See Unproductiveness]; hors de combat [F.], past work (impaired) [See Deterioration]; obsolete (old) [See Oldness]; fit for the dust hole; good for nothing; of no earthly use; not worth -having, - powder and shot; leading to no end, uncalled for; unnecessary, unneeded, superfluous.
ADVERB:USELESSLY &c. adj.; to -little, - no, - little or no- purpose.
INTERJECTION:cui bono? [L.]; what’s the good! what’s the use!
  1. Actum ne agas.
  2. Chercher une aiguille dans une botte de foin.
  3. Tanto buon che val niente.
  4. Like sending them ruffles, when wanting a shirt.—Sorbienne
  5. One might as well expect the Astronomer Royal to tell the time in a catacomb.—Shaw



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