to little purpose

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to little purpose

To no or an insignificant amount of usefulness or utility. That art degree has been put to little purpose, as I ended up getting a job as an accounts manager for a financial firm. HR is insisting that we all attend these meetings, but they're to little purpose if you ask me.
See also: little, purpose

to little purpose

Also, to no purpose. Of little or no use, in vain, as in Hiring a new lawyer will be to little purpose. The related phrases are sometimes combined in to little or no purpose and used as a general indicator of futility. To little purpose was first recorded in 1560. For a synonym, see to no avail; also see to good purpose.
See also: little, purpose

to little/good/some/no ˈpurpose

(formal) with little, good, etc. result or effect: Another meeting was held, to little purpose.She had used the profits to good purpose and upgraded their software.
See also: good, little, no, purpose
References in classic literature ?
said Big Klaus, and he ran off at once to Little Klaus.
So he went himself to Little Klaus with the measure.
So as soon as he got home he took the largest sack he could find, and went to Little Klaus and said: 'You have fooled me again
As these people passed him standing still in the court-yard, and one of them turned back to inquire if he could assist him with his services, it came into Arthur Clennam's mind that he would speak to Little Dorrit again before he went away.
In the midst of this homage, Mr Arthur Clennam offered his arm to Little Dorrit, and Little Dorrit took it.
The court-yard received them at last, and there he said goodbye to Little Dorrit.
he would shout, and the big fight between Kala Nag and the wild elephant would sway to and fro across the Keddah, and the old elephant catchers would wipe the sweat out of their eyes, and find time to nod to Little Toomai wriggling with joy on the top of the posts.
Tend to him if he grows restless in the night," said Big Toomai to Little Toomai, and he went into the hut and slept.
Perhaps the river will carry me to little Kay," said she; and then she grew less sad.
Indeed, so devoted was the rich Miller to little Hans, that be would never go by his garden without leaning over the wall and plucking a large nosegay, or a handful of sweet herbs, or filling his pockets with plums and cherries if it was the fruit season.
Everybody went to little Hans' funeral, as he was so popular, and the Miller was the chief mourner.
Up went the steps, bang went the door, round whirled the wheels, and off they rattled, with Kit's mother hanging out at one window waving a damp pocket-handkerchief and screaming out a great many messages to little Jacob and the baby, of which nobody heard a word.
The idea is to build an 'AfricaTown,' similar to Little Italy and Chinatown," explained Charles Oliver in a recent issue of Reason magazine, referring to a vote by Detroit City Council to spend $30 million a year in public money to develop a blacks-only, race-based district of entrepreneurship in downtown Detroit.
Spoke to Little Mrs Johnson, who told me about her little grandson.
Nine grand prize winners will each receive a $5,000 scholarship to a participating HBCU institution as well as a trip to Little Rock where they will receive their scholarship during a special reception with Dr.