Useless vs Harmful - What's the difference?

useless | harmful |

As adjectives the difference between useless and harmful

is that useless is without use or possibility to be used while harmful is of a kind likely to be damaging; injurious.




  • Without use or possibility to be used.
  • This fork has prongs that are bent. It's useless now.
  • Unhelpful, not useful; pointless (of an action).
  • I think it's useless to keep this discussion going. It's like talking to a wall.
    I tried my best to make him quit smoking, but my efforts were useless . He now smokes six packs a day.
  • (pejorative, of a person) good-for-nothing; not dependable.
  • Bill never mows the lawn, takes out the trash or anything. He's useless , but I love him anyways.
  • (colloquial, of a person) unable to do well at a particular task or thing. Useless is mildly insulting.
  • My brother is useless at most computer games, but he is an awesome PS2 player.
    Why do you keep trying? You're obviously useless at it.


    * (good-for-nothing) good-for-nothing * (unable to do well) unskillful


    * skillful, useful

    Derived terms

    * uselessly * uselessness



    Alternative forms

    * harmfull (archaic)


  • of a kind likely to be damaging; injurious
  • Wear a hat to protect your skin from harmful sunlight.

    Usage notes

    * Nouns to which "harmful" is often applied: effect, consequence, impact, influence, emission, chemical, ingredient, substance, gas, agent, additive, drug, radiation, dust, organism, plant, animal, insect, action, act, behavior, component, content, activity, interference, use.


    * injurious; see also


    * beneficial * harmless

    See also

    * harm