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1. Lacking worth; of no use or value.
2. Low; despicable: that worthless friend of his.

worth′less·ly adv.
worth′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.




bottom of the barrel The dregs; the lowest of the low; the end of the line; financial or moral bankruptcy; often bottom of the pickle barrel. Although the exact origin of this expression is unknown, it apparently refers to the barrels formerly used in grocery stores to keep pickles. By the time the last of the pickles were sold, they were often not fit to eat. The phrase is said to have been popularized by baseball announcer Red Barber in his broadcasts of the Brooklyn Dodger games from 1945-55. A variation is reach the bottom of the barrel. Scape the bottom of the barrel means to ‘try to find something of use or value after the main resources have been exhausted,’ and to ‘make do as best one can with what is available.’

catchpenny Worthless, cheap, gimmicky, as an article designed to trap the dollars of unwary buyers. Though originally and still often applied to publications, the story that the term originated from a deliberately misleading headline used by the British printer Catnach in 1824 regarding a sensational murder case is belied by Oliver Goldsmith’s 1759 reference to:

one of those catchpenny subscription works.

kickshaw Trivial, insignificant, worthless; gaudy but useless; garish but without value. This expression, derived from the French quelque chose ‘something, anything,’ originally referred to nonsense or buffoonery. In Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, for example, when Sir Andrew Aguecheek states, “I delight in masques and revels sometimes altogether,” Sir Toby Belch asks:

Are thou good at these kickshaws, knight? (I, iii)

The term, occasionally used in reference to small tidbits of food or hors d’oeuvres, usually describes something of a trivial nature.

He sang … no kickshaw ditties. (Charles Dickens, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, 1870)

not worth a continental Completely worthless or valueless; good for nothing, useless. A continental was a piece of the paper currency issued by the Continental Congress during the American Revolution. Its value depreciated so drastically that it was virtually worthless by the end of the war. Use of this U.S. colloquialism dates from the 19th century.

The next day he is all played out and not worth a continental. (G. W. Peck, Sunshine, 1882)

not worth a damn Worth nothing, of no value or use; also not worth a tinker’s damn and not worth a twopenny damn. A damn is nothing more than a mild curse word, in common use for centuries.

A wrong … system, not worth a damn. (George Gordon, Lord Byron, Diary, 1817)

It is most probable that a tinker’s damn has nothing to do with the tinker’s tool called a dam (a piece of dough used to keep solder from spilling over), as has been frequently theorized; but that it rather refers to the reputation of these itinerant jacks-of-all-trades for their propensity toward cursing. The exact origin of a twopenny damn, generally attributed to the Duke of Wellington, is not known. It may, however, be connected with a tinker’s damn since twopence was apparently once the going rate for a tinker’s labor.

not worth a straw Worthless, valueless, insignificant, useless; also not worth a rush. Although both expressions date from about the 15th century, not worth a rush has been replaced in current usage by not worth a straw, most likely a variant or derivative of the former. The allusion may be to the former practice of strewing rushes, or straws on the floor as a kind of carpeting for visitors. Apparently fresh rushes were put down only for the more distinguished guests, while visitors of lower social status used those already trod upon by their superiors or none at all.

Friends’ applauses are not worth a rush. (W. Pope, in Flatman’s Poems, 1674)

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.worthlessness - having no qualities that would render it valuable or useful; "the drill sergeant's intent was to convince all the recruits of their worthlessness"
quality - an essential and distinguishing attribute of something or someone; "the quality of mercy is not strained"--Shakespeare
fecklessness - worthlessness due to being feeble and ineffectual
groundlessness, idleness - the quality of lacking substance or value; "the groundlessness of their report was quickly recognized"
paltriness, sorriness - worthlessness due to insignificance
valuelessness - having none of the properties that endow something with value
shoddiness, trashiness - the quality of being cheaply imitative of something better
red cent, shucks, tinker's dam, tinker's damn, damn, darn, hoot - something of little value; "his promise is not worth a damn"; "not worth one red cent"; "not worth shucks"
vanity, emptiness - the quality of being valueless or futile; "he rejected the vanities of the world"
worth - the quality that renders something desirable or valuable or useful
2.worthlessness - the quality of being without practical use
inutility, unusefulness, uselessness - the quality of having no practical use
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
عَدَم القيمَه أو الإسْتِحْقاق
gagnsleysi; fánÿti


[ˈwɜːθlɪsnɪs] N [of object] (in money terms) → falta f de valor; [of effort, advice] → lo inútil; [of person] → lo despreciable
feelings of worthlessnesssensación f de inutilidad
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


nWertlosigkeit f; (of person also)Nichtsnutzigkeit f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


(wəːθ) noun
value. These books are of little or no worth; She sold fifty dollars' worth of tickets.
1. equal in value to. Each of these stamps is worth a cent.
2. good enough for. His suggestion is worth considering: The exhibition is well worth a visit.
ˈworthless adjective
of no value. worthless old coins.
ˈworthlessly adverb
ˈworthlessness noun
ˈworthy (-ði) adjective
1. good and deserving. I willingly give money to a worthy cause.
2. (with of) deserving. She was not worthy of the honour given to her.
3. (with of) typical of, suited to, or in keeping with. a performance worthy of a champion.
4. of great enough importance etc. She was not thought worthy to be presented to the king.
nounplural ˈworthies
a highly respected person.
ˈworthily adverb
ˈworthiness noun
1. deserving; fit for. a blameworthy act.
2. fit for its appropriate use. a seaworthy ship.
worthˈwhile adjective
deserving attention, time and effort etc. a worthwhile cause; It isn't worthwhile to ask him – he'll only refuse.
for all one is worth
using all one's efforts, strength etc. He swam for all he was worth towards the shore.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
Thorpe herself, of her past adventures and sufferings, which might otherwise be expected to occupy the three or four following chapters; in which the worthlessness of lords and attornies might be set forth, and conversations, which had passed twenty years before, be minutely repeated.
They who believe their merit neglected and unappreciated, make up one class; they who receive adulation and flattery, knowing their own worthlessness, compose the other.
"Again, in estimating the merit of certain poems, whether they be Ossian's or Macpherson's can surely be of little consequence, yet, in order to prove their worthlessness, Mr.
He was on his feet, flinging his arms, his rhetoric, and his control to the winds, alternately abusing Ernest for his youth and demagoguery, and savagely attacking the working class, elaborating its inefficiency and worthlessness.
term for abject worthlessness,) ``who should in his own hall, and while his own wine-cup passed, have treated, or suffered to be treated, an unoffending guest as your highness has this day beheld me used; and whatever was the misfortune of our fathers on the field of Hastings, those may at least be silent,'' here he looked at Front-de-B uf and the Templar, ``who have within these few hours once and again lost saddle and stirrup before the lance of a Saxon.''
The motive professed was his conviction of its being owing to himself that Wickham's worthlessness had not been so well known as to make it impossible for any young woman of character to love or confide in him.
We were in the heart and home of priest craft--of a happy, cheerful, contented ignorance, superstition, degradation, poverty, indolence, and everlasting unaspiring worthlessness. And we said fervently: it suits these people precisely; let them enjoy it, along with the other animals, and Heaven forbid that they be molested.
It is only when you return to the book with a sounder judgment that you find how gross their pleasures were, how vulgar their minds; and you feel the utter worthlessness, as artists and as human beings, of that gay procession.
(the reflection was still incomplete), he caught himself smiling and was conscious that another line of thought had sprung up, and while thinking of her worthlessness he was also dreaming of how she would be his wife, how she would love him become quite different, and how all he had thought and heard of her might be false.
After half an hour of bargaining, during which Captain Van Horn had insisted on the worthlessness of the parcel, he had bought a fat pig worth five dollars and exchanged it for her.
He paused, open-mouthed, on the verge of the pit of his own depravity and utter worthlessness to breathe the same air she did.
The whole situation, in all its bearings, was focussed sharply before me--the shame of losing the prisoners, the worthlessness and cowardice of George, the meeting with Le Grant and the other patrol men and the lame explanation; and then there was the fight I had fought so hard, victory wrenched from me just as I thought I had it within my grasp.