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

  • adj. Of little or no importance; trifling.
  • adj. Having no force; invalid. See Synonyms at vain.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Trivial, trifling or of little importance.
  • adj. Ineffective, invalid or futile.
  • adj. Having no force, inoperative, ineffectual.
  • adj. Removable from a computer program with safety, but harmless if retained.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Trifling; vain; futile; insignificant.
  • adj. Of no force; inoperative; ineffectual.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Trifling; futile; worthless: without significance.
  • Of no force or effect; inoperative; ineffectual; vain.

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

  • adj. of no real value


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

Latin nūgātōrius, from nūgātor, trifler, from nūgārī, to trifle, from nūgae, jokes.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin nugatorius.


  • As TV and the Internet converge into something generically known as broadband, the distinctions between the two will soon become nugatory from a consumer point of view.

    The Revolution Will Be Televised

  • As soon as the lords were out of Henry's reach, the Scots Estates demanded modifications in the proposed treaty which would have made it nugatory from the English point of view.

    England under the Tudors

  • Yesterday's term was nugatory, which is defined as:

    Define That Term #45

  • In my opinion, people who opine about the "merely aesthetic," who find aesthetic values "nugatory" unless they are subservient to a higher principle of judgment, manifestly disdain art except as an illustrative aid, a utilitarian convenience.

    Art and Culture

  • The "aesthetic canons of legitimacy and achievement," which Helen Vendler observes and attempts to advance, are "nugatory" unless they buttress these cultural pillars.

    Politics and Literature

  • I spent yesterday writing the icky sequences of the WIP and the end is in sight for it and I decided that my celebration would be to keep 'nugatory' alive in my vocabulary.

    Even in a little thing

  • Sorry, I just had to get 'nugatory' into a sentence.

    Even in a little thing

  • In this telling, tactical excellence and the considerable courage of frontline troops are forever being rendered nugatory by failed leadership.

    Bing West's "The Wrong War," on Afghanistan strategy

  • The prosecutors' list, meanwhile, has but a nugatory celebrity quotient, concentrating instead on the women who supposedly worked as prostitutes at the gatherings.

    This week: Iman Al-Obeidi, Ed Miliband, George Clooney

  • That neighbors spied on neighbors, and children informed on their parents, that tens of thousands of men and women were dragged away and shot for ludicrous, nugatory crimes—at the remove of history, it almost seems incredible.

    In Brief: Children's Books


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  • "The plan of the convention declares that the power of Congress, or, in other words, of the NATIONAL LEGISLATURE, shall extend to certain enumerated cases. This specification of particulars evidently excludes all pretension to a general legislative authority, because an affirmative grant of special powers would be absurd, as well as useless, if a general authority was intended.

    In like manner the judicial authority of the federal judicatures is declared by the Constitution to comprehend certain cases particularly specified. The expression of those cases marks the precise limits, beyond which the federal courts cannot extend their jurisdiction, because the objects of their cognizance being enumerated, the specification would be nugatory if it did not exclude all ideas of more extensive authority."

    -Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers #83

    March 19, 2010

  • Not as Delicious as they Sound

    May 14, 2009

  • The best citations make me immediately want to read the text.

    June 17, 2008

  • "the nugatory paradise of weekends"! I love it! Excellent citation, Darqueau!

    June 17, 2008

  • Hi Darq. Putting square brackets around nugatory helps to make it stand out in the citation. Which is excellent, by the way.

    June 17, 2008

  • What spark of humanity, of a possible creativity, can remain alive in a being dragged out of sleep at six every morning, jolted about in suburban trains, deafened by the racket of machinery, bleached and steamed by meaningless sounds and gestures, spun dry by statistical controls, and tossed out at the end of the day into the entrance halls of railway stations, those cathedrals of departure for the hell of weekdays and the nugatory paradise of weekends, where the crowd communes in weariness and boredom?

    The Revolution of Everyday Life

    by Raoul Vaneigem

    June 17, 2008