an adjective suffix meaning “without” (childless; peerless ), and in adjectives derived from verbs, indicating failure or inability to perform or be performed (resistless; tireless ).

Middle English -les, Old English -lēas, special use of lēas free from, without, false; cognate with Old Norse lauss, German los, loose

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To -less
World English Dictionary
suffix forming adjectives
1.  without; lacking: speechless
2.  not able to (do something) or not able to be (done, performed, etc): countless
[Old English -lās, from lēas lacking]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

the suffix meaning "lacking" is from O.E. -leas, from leas "free (from), devoid (of), false, feigned," from P.Gmc. *lausaz (cf. Du. -loos, Ger. -los "less," O.N. lauss "loose, free, vacant, dissolute," M.Du. los, Ger. los "loose, free," Goth. laus "empty, vain"). Related to loose and lease.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Nearby Words
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature