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

  • adj. Lazy; indolent.
  • adj. Of no use.
  • adj. Ineffective; futile. See Synonyms at vain.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Resulting in no effect.
  • adj. Reluctant to work or to exert oneself.
  • adj. Having no reason for being (raison d’être); having no point, reason, or purpose.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Being at leisure or ease; unemployed; indolent; idle.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Being at rest or ease; not at work; unemployed; inactive; idle.
  • Made, done, or performed in a leisurely, half-hearted way; perfunctory, negligent; careless; hence, ineffective; vain; futile; to no purpose.

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

  • adj. disinclined to work or exertion
  • adj. producing no result or effect
  • adj. serving no useful purpose; having no excuse for being


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

Latin ōtiōsus, idle, from ōtium, leisure.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin ōtiōsus ("idle"), from ōtium ("ease")



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  • In addition, otiose means redundant (Oxford English Dictionary).

    September 26, 2011

  • Otious (from Latin otium, ease or rest) is an alternate spelling.

    An important shade of meaning is without painstaking:

    "(Jesus Christ would warn his listeners) against the otiose attention of curiosity or mere intellectual interest, and would fix upon their minds a sense of their moral responsibility for the effects produced by what they heard."

    Paley speaks of "otious assent".

    Dean Alford speaks of an "otiose and unprofitable way of keeping the Sabbath".

    April 19, 2011

  • " this single instance he did fuss, trying to make it perform miracles, urging the sun to shed a diffused and even illumination, uttering otiose explanations."

    --P. O'Brian, The Commodore, 75

    March 16, 2008

  • "But what I demanded from this performance—as from the visit to Balbec and the visit to Venice for which I had so intensely longed—was something quite different from pleasure: verities pertaining to a world more real than that in which I lived, which, once acquired, could never be taken from me by any trivial incident—even though it were to cause me bodily suffering—of my otiose existence."

    -- Within a Budding Grove by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, Revised by D.J. Enright, p 17 of the Modern Library paperback edition

    March 5, 2008