Also found in: Thesaurus.


Lacking a purpose; meaningless or aimless.

pur′pose·less·ly adv.
pur′pose·less·ness n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.purposelessness - the quality of lacking any definite purpose
meaninglessness - the quality of having no value or significance; "he resented the meaninglessness of the tasks they assigned him"
purposefulness, sense of purpose - the quality of having a definite purpose
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
The tentacles swayed and struck like living arms, and, save for the helpless purposelessness of these movements, it was as if some wounded thing were struggling for its life amid the waves.
The conditions here are tough: high heat, limited water, few schools, overburdened health centres and a general sense of purposelessness makes life unimaginably harsh for refugees.
The sheer purposelessness of the tragedy is compounded by a string of 'what ifs' as one tries to come to terms with the blow.
The sicknesses to which civilisation is prone result from boredom and purposelessness, the disorientation of individuals who are given the conditions but denied the impetus to develop personality.
Anni Albers, born Annelise Elsa Frieda Fleischmann in 1899, liked to think back to the early Bauhaus, remembering that when she came as a student in 1922 it was the "period of the saints," everyone wearing what looked like handmade, "baggy white dresses and saggy white suits." The Bauhaus was a collaborative experiment, pitting youthful energy and idealism against the despair and purposelessness that followed World War I.
Its overarching theme cap-tures Camus' concept of absurdism, the belief that people should accept the purposelessness of life but still continue to find its mean-ing.
Yet, as I have suggested elsewhere, the apparent purposelessness and pointlessness of the game-play in golf is particularly useful and also transformative, as it affords the interrogation into the point of the game and the play.
Derrida believes that the absence of meaning in language is the real purpose of language and this real purpose of language has been divulged by Albee in his plays The American Dream (1961) and The Zoo Story (1958) where meaninglessness and purposelessness of circumstances itself conveys meaning and that meaning is multi-faceted and multi-dimensional.
His correspondence and his spiritual writings (in particular, his retreat notes) contain frequent reference to physical illness, tiredness and depression--"languishment of body and mind" (CW 2: 734)--and to a profound sense of purposelessness. (12) What is striking about these two letters, though, is just how little of that mood is present.
The equivocality, purposelessness, and openness of Walther's work actually requires users to assume odd positions of physical vulnerability and to undertake disturbing activities steeped in uncertainty about what one is doing, for how long, and why.