쓸데없다 (sseul-de-oeb-da) – unwanted/uninvited OR useless/unnecessary/futile
Naver and Daum dictionaries gave quite a number of meanings for this vocabulary. But I personally think that “unwanted” and “uninvited” are the best fits.
Don’t take my word for it, though. It’d be good if a native Korean could confirm this!
Anyway, the reason why I think 쓸데없다 is more of “unwanted” or “uninvited” instead of “unnecessary” or “futile”, which are the meanings given by Naver and Daum, is because I came across this vocabulary while reading 언터처블 (a Webtoon series).
And in the (several) contexts where this vocabulary is used, it’s better understood as “unwanted” or “uninvited” in English.
In some sense, unwanted or uninvited can also be synonymous with unnecessary or futile, or even useless.
Either way, just understand that the gist of this vocabulary is that it has a negative connotation to it.
We’ll look at several example sentences where we can see both meanings at work. Context is still the most important factor in understanding the meaning of vocabularies.
이렇게 쓸데없게 방문해서 미안하지만 너무 보고 싶어서.
I’m sorry for making such an uninvited visit but I really wanted to see you.
그 사람과 같은 회사에서 다녀오고 있는데 많이 쓸데없는 짓을 해서 귀찮아.
I’m working at the same office as that person but he does a lot of unwanted and unnecessary deeds so it’s annoying.
여기 와서 아무 사람도 알지 않아서 쓸데없이 와도 돼요?
I came here but I don’t even know anyone, is it alright that I came here uninvited?
우리 인생은 쓸데없는 일이 많은데 그래도 해야겠죠.
There are many futile things in our lives but even then, we have to do it.