Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Having a beneficial use; serviceable: a useful kitchen gadget.
  • adj. Being of practical use: a useful job; useful members of society.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having a practical or beneficial use.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Full of use, advantage, or profit; producing, or having power to produce, good; serviceable for any end or object; helpful toward advancing any purpose; beneficial; profitable; advantageous.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Being of use, advantage, or profit; valuable for use; suited or adapted to a purpose; producing or having power to produce good; beneficial; profitable; serviceable.
  • Useful invention.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. being of use or service
  • adj. having a useful function

Etymologies

From use +‎ -ful. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In this workshop, children are invited to make educational and useful toys - ‘useful’ in the sense that they help with a child’s early development, providing stimulation, exercise, use of the senses, and learning of skills.

    Chapter 6

  • Let a child be employed -- take an interest in his employment, let him fancy that he is useful -- _and he is useful_, he is laying in a stock of health.

    Advice to a Mother on the Management of Her Children

  • Exactly the same difficulty arises, when we endeavour to account for the development of the moral sense or conscience in savage man; for although the _practice_ of benevolence, honesty, or truth, may have been useful to the tribe possessing these virtues, that does not at all account for the peculiar _sanctity_, attached to actions which each tribe considers right and moral, as contrasted with the very different feelings with which they regard what is merely _useful_.

    Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection A Series of Essays

  • Carnot’s experiments also showed that thermodynamic laws are essentially economic formulations of physical relations, for the terms ’useful’ and ’unavailable’ energy refer to the economy’s ability to use energy to upgrade the organizational state of natural resources into useful goods and services.

    Biophysical economics

  • The word useful came out with a spiteful, bitter twist.

    Fly Away Home

  • Stalin was possibly an atheist however I doubt he would even consider the term useful as he was a communist above all.

    Guest Post: On Being Atheistic. | Mind on Fire

  • The right invented the term useful idiot to describe those who were being used and manipulated by the commies.

    Hullabaloo

  • Read THE ANTI-WAR NUMBERS GAME, archived below. tadair919 you ever hear the term useful idiots? that's when people ally themselves with the naive because they dutifully tow the same line. it's ...

    Propeller Most Popular Stories

  • -- Lang Sui Now that's what I call a useful letter.

    All (Chinese) Roads Lead to Bureaucracy

  • But first we must agree on what we describe as useful- useful to whom, to what, for what ?

    Integral education

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