Some affirmed that the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale, on the very day when Hester Prynne first wore her ignominious badge, had begun a course of penance—which he afterwards, in so many futile methods, followed out—by inflicting a hideous torture on himself.
There are no more uses of "futile" in the book.
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It was a futile effort that was doomed form the start.
Negotiations between the opposing parties are increasingly looking futile.