"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[hahrt-lis] /ˈhɑrt lɪs/
unfeeling; unkind; unsympathetic; harsh; cruel:
heartless words; a heartless ruler.
Archaic. lacking courage or enthusiasm; spiritless; disheartened.
Origin of heartless
1300-50; Middle English herteles, Old English heortlēas. See heart, -less
Related forms
heartlessly, adverb
heartlessness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for heartless
  • Because giraffes are heartless creatures, and other musings.
  • Books are the province of romantics and humanists, not heartless nerds.
  • The desert may be a heartless killer, but it's a sympathetic conservator.
  • The pirates portrayed in the movies are usually heartless, swashbuckling, and usually sport an eye patch.
  • Its old-fashioned awnings shield pedestrians in business suits as well as beggars in rags from the heartless sun.
  • To do what he and his buddies did, you have to be totally heartless.
  • There has been something crude and heartless and unfeeling in our haste to succeed and be great.
  • Though apparently it means submission to a beneficent law, in reality the sign is a heartless, cruel joke.
  • Then followed the heartless laugh, the cutting irony, humiliation without end.
  • Their heartless hearts, nor arms, nor strength could touch.
British Dictionary definitions for heartless


unkind or cruel; hard-hearted
Derived Forms
heartlessly, adverb
heartlessness, 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 heartless

Old English heortleas "dispirited, dejected;" see heart + -less. In Middle English with expanded senses "lacking in courage; foolish; listless; half-hearted; sluggish." Sense of "callous, cruel" is not certainly attested before Shelley used it in 1816. Literal meaning "lacking a heart, lifeless" (mid-15c.) is rare. Related: Heartlessly; heartlessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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