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[self-lis] /ˈsɛlf lɪs/
having little or no concern for oneself, especially with regard to fame, position, money, etc.; unselfish.
Origin of selfless
First recorded in 1815-25; self + -less
Related forms
selflessly, adverb
selflessness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for selfless
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He should have that oil of joy for his work, for his high, selfless purposes.

    Jane Journeys On Ruth Comfort Mitchell
  • The yearning yet selfless love which it expressed was not for my eyes to witness.

    Bat Wing Sax Rohmer
  • He felt how untrustworthy he had been, how undeserving of the selfless devotion which Percy was showing him even now.

    El Dorado Baroness Orczy
  • "There are people in the world who are what Tennyson calls 'selfless,'" returned Alick.

    The Clever Woman of the Family Charlotte M. Yonge
  • It is so absolutely without affectation, and so selfless, and yet such a mastery of the instrument.

British Dictionary definitions for selfless


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 selfless

"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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