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an adjective suffix meaning “without” (childless; peerless), and in adjectives derived from verbs, indicating failure or inability to perform or be performed (resistless; tireless).
Origin of -less
Middle English -les, Old English -lēas, special use of lēas free from, without, false; cognate with Old Norse lauss, German los, loose Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for -less


without; lacking: speechless
not able to (do something) or not able to be (done, performed, etc): countless
Word Origin
Old English -lās, from lēas lacking
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for -less

word-forming element meaning "lacking, cannot be, does not," from Old English -leas, from leas "free (from), devoid (of), false, feigned," from Proto-Germanic *lausaz (cf. Dutch -loos, German -los "-less," Old Norse lauss "loose, free, vacant, dissolute," Middle Dutch los, German los "loose, free," Gothic laus "empty, vain"). Related to loose and lease.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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