9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[self-lis] /ˈsɛlf lɪs/
having little or no concern for oneself, especially with regard to fame, position, money, etc.; unselfish.
Origin of selfless
1815-25; self + -less
Related forms
selflessly, adverb
selflessness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for selflessness
  • Similar selflessness over the years has taken a heavy toll.
  • The population flourishes because of the selflessness of a few.
  • Demonstrating your value to a group-whether through competence or selflessness-appears to improve status.
  • People perform amazing acts of heroism and selflessness.
  • The essence is knife-sharp pragmatism wedded to soldierly selflessness.
  • Nations at war need courage, quick thinking, and selflessness.
  • Only a heroic act of selflessness will break the curse.
  • The selflessness which that belief encourages might help explain religion's evolution.
  • Economists, typically baffled by selflessness, have tended to hunt for hidden self-interest in apparent altruism.
  • On the face of it, then, they are looking to ride on readers' guilt or selflessness.
British Dictionary definitions for selflessness


having little concern for one's own interests
Derived Forms
selflessly, adverb
selflessness, 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 selflessness



"devoted to others' welfare or interest and not one's own," 1825, from self + -less. First attested in Coleridge. Related: Selflessly; selflessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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