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[rest-lis] /ˈrɛst lɪs/
characterized by or showing inability to remain at rest:
a restless mood.
unquiet or uneasy, as a person, the mind, or the heart.
never at rest; perpetually agitated or in motion:
the restless sea.
without rest; without restful sleep:
a restless night.
unceasingly active; averse to quiet or inaction, as persons:
a restless crowd.
Origin of restless
before 1000; Middle English restles, Old English restlēas. See rest1, -less
Related forms
restlessly, adverb
restlessness, noun
1, 2, 3. restive, agitated, fretful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for restlessly
Contemporary Examples
  • But as a salesman, he's actually quite a natural, restlessly promoting a product that doesn't look any prettier than he does.

Historical Examples
  • But I was restlessly curious to look at her—so curious that I felt it to be one of the few sources of entertainment left to me.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • After Edith had gone down, Katherine tossed about restlessly.

  • Charlie was restlessly and dangerously waiting for his opportunity.

    Mr. Prohack E. Arnold Bennett
  • Then restlessly, he snuffed out his cigarette and rubbed his hands together.

    Faithfully Yours Lou Tabakow
  • He moved about restlessly, possessed by an intense desire to get out of doors and walk fast and far.

  • Tiny moved about restlessly, fanning herself with her straw hat.

    My Antonia Willa Cather
  • But the killer, restlessly turning, saw him—and Kenneth Torrance winced and cried out.

    Seed of the Arctic Ice H. G. Winter
  • Burney restlessly paced the shore until the first streaks of dawn.

    Shawn of Skarrow James Tandy Ellis
  • She glanced round her restlessly; she lifted her eyes to "the Master."

    The Law and the Lady Wilkie Collins
British Dictionary definitions for restlessly


unable to stay still or quiet
ceaselessly active or moving: the restless wind
worried; anxious; uneasy
not restful; without repose: a restless night
Derived Forms
restlessly, adverb
restlessness, 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 restlessly



late 14c., from rest (n.1) + -less. A general Germanic compound (cf. Frisian restleas, Dutch rusteloos, German rastlos, Danish rastlös). Meaning "stirring constantly, desirous of action" is attested from late 15c. Related: Restlessly; restlessness. Old English had restleas "deprived of sleep."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for restlessly


Related Terms

the natives are restless

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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