Do Useful Tools Exist?

The philosophy major and lawyer in me loves arguing semantics, and earlier today I read the phrase ‘useful tool’ and began to think about its use. While it sounds innocuous enough, a part of me wonders if it’s an oxymoron. First let’s consider: can there be a tool that isn’t useful? I agree there can be levels of usefulness, but I do not think there can exist a useless tool, because then it ceases to be a tool. I’d argue that tools that are not useful in a particular scenario (but otherwise would be useful in life) also cease to be tools.

Although I can imagine some extreme cases where ‘useful tool’ imparts something meaningful, I think it’s probably an overused pair of words where just ‘tool’ would suffice. Yes, I realize I’m being pedantic.