9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[hahrm-lis] /ˈhɑrm lɪs/
without the power or desire to do harm; innocuous:
He looks mean but he's harmless; a harmless Halloween prank.
without injury; unhurt; unharmed.
hold harmless, Law. to relieve from responsibility or liability for any damage or loss.
Also, save harmless.
Origin of harmless
1250-1300; Middle English. See harm, -less
Related forms
harmlessly, adverb
harmlessness, noun
1. inoffensive, mild, innocent, unobjectionable, benign. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for harmless
  • 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.
British Dictionary definitions for harmless


not causing any physical or mental damage or injury
unlikely to annoy or worry people: a harmless sort of man
Derived Forms
harmlessly, adverb
harmlessness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for harmless

c.1300, "uninjured," from harm (n.) + -less. Meaning "undamaged" is from late 14c. Related: Harmlessly; harmlessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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