without the power or desire to do harm; innocuous:
He looks mean but he's harmless; a harmless Halloween prank.
without injury; unhurt; unharmed.
to relieve from responsibility or liability for any damage or loss.
Middle English. See
inoffensive, mild, innocent, unobjectionable, benign.
not causing any physical or mental damage or injury
unlikely to annoy or worry people:
a harmless sort of man
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
She's also inquired about my age and a few other harmless, though personal, questions.
Why the human body reacts in this disordered way to ostensibly harmless environmental substances remains in large part a mystery.
Colleges often argue that ties with trustees' businesses are harmless.
Tomlinson's delusions were harmless, and not widely shared.
Ordinarily, typhoid carriers are not isolated, being harmless to public health unless they handle food.
Subsidizing debt seems harmless simply because we've always done it.
The killings were semi-legal, with kangaroo courts quickly convened and a majority of the harmless prisoners released.
We venture to affirm that tobacco is as harmless as any.
While many of these regulations appear harmless or even positive, in aggregate they make for something darker.
Camping in a public park is a harmless extension of one's public rights.
Certain kinds of flirtation deemed unacceptable today could perhaps one day be regarded as relatively harmless.
Regarding mopping and wiping down surfaces, some of it might well be harmless.
The first cousin of the white lie is the idle boast-not quite so harmless, but not nefarious, either.
It is as harmless as a dove, as beautiful as a rose, and as valuable as flocks and herds.
But there the cops were, spending my money to chase down harmless skinny-dippers and dune-canoodlers.
The actors are silly but sweet, and their exploits are felonious but harmless, ultimately.
On second thought, perhaps, it's not quite that harmless.
That's more to me than my wetting: yet this is your harmless fairy, monster.
It seems to us that the desired explanation can be more easily ascertained in tendency-wit than in harmless wit.
We are bidden not merely to be harmless as doves, but also as wise as serpents.
The measles, ordinarily a harmless disease, furnishes a familiar example.
Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Although the seizures that came upon him were harmless enough, they could not be laughed away.
The people believed that during this festival the crocodiles forgot their natural ferocity and became harmless.
But a minister, for example, can become the harmless mediator between them.
Yet another view explained the entire matter by regarding the stranger as a harmless lunatic.
Or he must disguise his objectionable statement in a garb that seems harmless.
Quantum dots could be a great tool for medical imaging if researchers can find a way to render them harmless.
No one complained as long as energy was seen as plentiful and harmless.
It was so harmless, in fact, that no lethal dose could be established.
The city quickly determined that the odor was harmless, but the mystery of its origin persisted for four years.
It doesn't seem to matter that the act was harmless.
It's as harmless as a walk in the woods, which is to say, not harmless at all.
They are mildly venomous snakes, but their tiny, fixed rear fangs make them harmless to humans.
Most hammerhead species are fairly small and are considered harmless to humans.
These random mutations, which happen naturally and are usually harmless, are called markers.
Ideally, the product created by the microorganism after consuming the oil would be harmless to the environment.
Some people might consider patents on unworkable products to be relatively harmless.
Help them understand that many activities that appear harmless do, in fact, affect the marine ecosystem.
Gynecomastia can cause physical issues, including painful hypersensitivity, but it is generally harmless.
Sometimes harmless products, such as lemon-scented shaving cream, fool the dogs.
These random mutations, which can happen naturally and be harmless, are called markers.
While almost all of it is harmless, avoid the losing team's supporters as they exit the pub or stadium after a soccer match.
Females and pups are rather tame and harmless, but males may fight for their territory.
Despite their giant size, whale sharks are harmless to divers and snorkelers.
Dozens of flu subtypes inhabit the birds' guts, mostly harmless to their hosts or to any other creature.
Collect applications from garden members that include contact information, garden expertise and a hold-harmless clause.
They use everything that comes to hand, and because they are few, their actions seem harmless.
Sometimes, the items found are harmless and rather random.
Such antibodies recognise and attach themselves to these molecules, rendering them harmless.
Such books are usually harmless, if slightly fact-challenged.
In normal times, football would be regarded as a harmless source of prestige and fun.
Protesters somehow failed to convey the impression of a persecuted minority trying to defend a harmless way of life.
The exact same complex derivative position can be risky or harmless depending on how many others own it.
It is easier to fill them with harmless gamblers than to conduct months-long investigations into major criminal enterprises.
Meanwhile, the consensus that cannabis is relatively harmless grows.
In the healthy, a vaccinia infection is largely harmless and merely confers immunity to smallpox.
And as one of the team observed, the entry proteins for smallpox might be provided by a related but harmless virus.
It seems you all learned a lot about how to make this disastrous economy sound harmless enough.
And scientists must figure out which mutations are actually driving the growth of the tumors and which are harmless.
The researchers started with yeast prions-harmless cousins of the proteins that cause mad-cow disease.
That's right: your seemingly harmless printer, sitting innocuously beside your desk, was a ticking time bomb.
Despite some having many severe side effects, and some being harmless.
As for the health issues, short range transmissions are harmless.
In this case, the chemical-sensing bacteria are theoretically harmless and unlikely to survive long in the harsh open environment.
But many drug users have claimed that a few puffs of pot before getting behind the wheel are perfectly harmless.
For some people, these disturbances are basically harmless.
Harmless levels of chemicals prove toxic together.
Researchers gave test subjects a slow, long, harmless injection of a pain-inducing salt solution into the jaw.
Allergy is your body overreacting to harmless things.
On the other hand, neutrinos might not be so harmless.
Although this radiation may be harmless to our bodies, it can severely inhibit our ability to receive and transmit information.
Catnip is considered to be nonaddictive and completely harmless to cats.
If the pesticide companies think this stuff is harmless then they should be eager to test each chemical and prove it harmless.
After surgery or a skin injury, many otherwise harmless bacteria that live on the skin can infect the wound site.
Dioxin is harmless to humans, though it makes great rat poisons.
Obsession is common and typically harmless, often a powerful motivator and a source of artistic inspiration.
If drugs were as harmless as the author of this column indicates, rehabilitation and recovery centers would be non-existent.
The idea was that small amounts of these agents would be lethal to insects and harmless to people.
When asked about bears they say they are harmless unless you annoy them-each to his own.
Using a harmless virus, the scientists introduced the pigment gene into the eyes of color-blind adults.
The incident alarmed some witnesses, but appears to he harmless.
While the condition is usually harmless, it can be uncomfortable and unsightly.
They occur when heavy rain or a broken dam cause a sudden rise in the level of a stream, often a small, harmless-looking stream.
Flitting across your yard, butterflies seem friendly and harmless.
She had glimpsed an implacable demand that something she thought of as lovely and harmless must be destroyed.
In some cases, this microscopic combat works in our favour, when harmless species repress the growth of deadlier ones.
Some give otherwise harmless bacteria the ability to cause disease.
Prions, they say, seem to reproduce through a kind of evangelism: they convert harmless proteins into more prions.
Toxoplasma is usually harmless, but early in pregnancy it can cause maternal infection and possible miscarriage.
As a result, otherwise harmless bacteria can cause debilitating and often lethal infections, which last for years or decades.
He could go off on people who disagreed with him, or even perfectly harmless people who happened to annoy him.
In daily life, space and time are harmless illusions.
The tiny workers are bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria but are harmless to humans.
The trefoil uses three genes to convert these harmless starter chemicals into their deadlier descendants.
High-powered radio waves are harmless to human flesh, but will heat up metal particles.
These transform hazardous oil into harmless, nontoxic components.
In contrast, the transgenic mosquitoes are simply expressing a gene that is mostly harmless.
They used a harmless virus to ferry in the gene that makes opsin, injecting the virus behind the monkeys' retinas.
Most mentally ill are harmless, many can benefit from therapy and medication and should have access to them.
Our knowledge of radiobiology seems to demonstrate that a low level radiation is apparently harmless.
Hold harmless districts have the ability to spend more per pupil with less of a local tax burden.
They are harmless to humans if left alone and will not be attracted to chum.
Harmless to humans, these lizards are known to run from potential threats.