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Borrowing from Latin nūgātōrius



nugatory (comparative more nugatory, superlative most nugatory)

  1. Trivial, trifling or of little importance.
    • 1872, Benjamin Disraeli, Suez Canal Speech
      I might refer to the general conviction and the common sense of society that such an investment cannot be treated as absolutely idle and nugatory.
  2. Ineffective, invalid or futile.
    • 1792, George Washington, Fourth State of the Union Address
      I can not dismiss the subject of Indian affairs without again recommending to your consideration the expediency of more adequate provision for giving energy to the laws throughout our interior frontier and for restraining the commission of outrages upon the Indians, without which all pacific plans must prove nugatory.
  3. (law) Having no force, inoperative, ineffectual.
    • 1819, Chief Justice John Marshall, McCulloch v. Maryland (17 U.S. 316)
      The word "necessary" is considered as controlling the whole sentence, and as limiting the right to pass laws for the execution of the granted powers to such as are indispensable, and without which the power would be nugatory.
  4. (computing) Removable from a computer program with safety, but harmless if retained.