Pronunciation Adjective


  1. bear#Verb|Bearing no fruit#Noun|fruit; barren.
  2. (figuratively) Unproductive, useless.
    The unskilled man’s attempt at fixing his car engine was fruitless.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene. […], London: Printed [by John Wolfe] for VVilliam Ponsonbie, OCLC 960102938 ↗, book II, canto VII, stanza 55, page 287 ↗:
      Here alſo ſprong that goodly golden fruit, / With which ''{{w
    • 1749, [John Cleland], “(Please specify the letter or volume)”, in 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 ↗, [
      /mode/1up page 192]:
      According to that Cabaliſticall Dogma: If Abram had not had this Letter [i.e., {{m
  • (rare) Of a diet#Noun|diet, etc.: without fruit.
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