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[list-lis] /ˈlɪst lɪs/
having or showing little or no interest in anything; languid; spiritless; indifferent:
a listless mood; a listless handshake.
Origin of listless
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English lystles. See list4, -less
Related forms
listlessly, adverb
listlessness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for listless
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was no longer the poor wretch of a moment ago, but already almost a statue, notwithstanding her common and listless air.

    Artists' Wives Alphonse Daudet
  • Her voice was as imperious as it had been previously listless.

  • Half-naked, listless, indolent figures lie about, or walk slowly to and from the yard with seemingly purposeless indecision.

  • I had been motoring in a listless, solitary fashion about Languedoc.

  • The lights extinguished, by the hearth I leant, Half weary with a listless discontent.

    Legends and Lyrics: Second Series Adelaide Anne Procter
  • She was listless, apathetic, calm with the calmness of a woman who knows she can suffer no further.

    The Octopus Frank Norris
British Dictionary definitions for listless


disinclined for any effort or exertion; lacking vigour, enthusiasm, or energy
Derived Forms
listlessly, adverb
listlessness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from list desire + -less
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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Contemporary definitions for listless

having no inclination or spirit; characterized by unwillingingness to exert

Word Origin

Middle English list 'desire' + less's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
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Word Origin and History for listless

mid-15c., from Middle English liste "pleasure, joy, delight" (see list (v.4)) + -less. Related: Listlessly; listlessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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listless in Technology
In functional programming, a property of a function which allows it to be combined with other functions in a way that eliminates intermediate data structures, especially lists.
Phil Wadler's thesis gives the conditions for a function to be in listless form: each input list is traversed only once, one element at a time, from left to right. Each output list is generated once, one element at a time, from left to right. No other lists are generated or traversed.
Not all functions can be expressed in listless form (e.g. reverse).
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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