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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for selflessness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • My life work will be to drag him down from his pinnacle of selflessness!

    Jane Journeys On Ruth Comfort Mitchell
  • So it will be your own greed, your own selflessness that will eventually win or lose this battle.

    Captives of the Flame Samuel R. Delany
  • The nobility and absolute 'selflessness' of Liszt's playing had to be heard to be understood.

    Franz Liszt James Huneker
  • Then he was no longer to value the humility and modesty attached to selflessness.

    William Blake Charles Gardner
  • They reproached him with the selflessness that made him somewhat languid.

    The Rhythm of Life Alice Meynell
  • You have given me belief in purity and selflessness and hope of achievement.

    Katrine Elinor Macartney Lane
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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