Go to 'thermo-' entry Go to 'dino-' entry Go to 'chondro-' entry Go to 'aero-' entry Go to '-logy' entry Go to 'thaumato-' entry Go to 'nano-' entry Go to '-sophy' entry Go to 'bucco-' entry Go to '-ism' entry Go to '-lysis' entry Go to 'galacto-' entry Go to '-anthropy' entry Go to 'pneumo-' entry Go to '-ploitation' entry Go to '-lithic' entry Go to '-sepalous' entry Go to 'onco-' entry Go to '-parous' entry Go to 'dermato-' entry Go to 'multi-' entry Go to 'dodeca-' entry Go to '-zoon' entry Go to 'vermi-' entry Go to 'crystallo-' entry Go to 'biblio-' entry Go to 'eco-' entry Go to 'juxta-' entry Go to 'facio-' entry
Affixes: the building blocks of English
Affixes: the building blocks of English

-less Also -lessness.

Without; unaffected by; failure or inability.

[Old English -lēas, from lēas, devoid of.]

Words in -less are nearly all adjectives. The great majority come from nouns and have the sense of lacking or being without that thing or quality: bottomless, childless, defenceless, lawless, pointless, spineless, strapless, toothless. The comparatively few that originate in verbs indicate something that is unaffected by the action or the verb, or some failure or inability to carry out that action: dauntless, quenchless, relentless, resistless, tireless.

The suffix is freely used to create new adjectives at need, to the extent that only a proportion of them can be recorded in dictionaries. Many are invented to fill a momentary need: girlfriendless, handbrakeless, monarchless, passwordless, sidewalkless.

Corresponding nouns are formed by adding -ness: childlessness, fearlessness, tastelessness.

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