fruitless

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

fruit +‎ -less.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

fruitless (comparative more fruitless, superlative most fruitless)

  1. Bearing no fruit; barren.
  2. (figuratively) Unproductive, useless.
    The unskilled man’s attempt at fixing his car engine was fruitless.
    • 1749, [John Cleland], Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure [Fanny Hill], London: Printed [by Thomas Parker] for G. Fenton [i.e., Fenton and Ralph Griffiths] [], OCLC 731622352, page 106:
      [A]t length, after repeated fruitleſs trials, he lay down panting by me, kiſs'd my falling tears, and aſk'd me tenderly, what was the meaning of ſo much complaining, and if I had not born it better from other than I did from him?
  3. (figuratively, archaic) Of a person: unable to have children; barren, infertile.
    The fruitless woman desperately wanted to have children.
    • 1658, Thomas Browne, “The Garden of Cyrus. []. Chapter V.”, in Hydriotaphia, Urne-buriall, [] Together with The Garden of Cyrus, [], London: Printed for Hen[ry] Brome [], OCLC 48702491; reprinted as Hydriotaphia (The English Replicas), New York, N.Y.: Payson & Clarke Ltd., 1927, OCLC 78413388, page 192:
      According to that Cabaliſticall Dogma: If Abram had not had this Letter [i.e., ה (he)] added unto his Name he had remained fruitleſſe, and without the power of generation: [] So that being ſterill before, he received the power of generation from that meaſure and manſion in the Archetype; and was made conformable unto Binah.
  4. (rare) Of a diet, etc.: without fruit.
    • 1923, The Homestead, Bloemfontein: The Proprietors, OCLC 934910955, page 33, column 1:
      The first fruits of the season were eagerly sought after, and everybody was thankful that once more dread winter with its unvarying monotony of fruitless meals was a thing of the past.
    • 1966, Joseph I[rving] Goodman; Alice Propst Hoover, Diet and Live: A Guide to Corrective Eating, Cleveland, Oh.: World Publishing Company, OCLC 976945560, page 14:
      Bearing this fact in mind will help dispel the confusion and apparent contradictions that surround us in the field of nutrition—the many individual claims as to the ideal diet, for instance, the high-carbohydrate diet, the milkless diet, the breadless diet, the meatless diet, the fruit diet or the fruitless diet, the high-protein or the low-protein diet, and innumerable variations.

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