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[tooth-lis] /ˈtuθ lɪs/
lacking teeth.
without a serrated edge, as a saw.
lacking in force or sharpness; dull; ineffectual:
a toothless argument.
Origin of toothless
Middle English word dating back to 1350-1400; See origin at tooth, -less
Related forms
toothlessly, adverb
toothlessness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for toothless
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It swung to behind his back with no more noise than the snap of a toothless jaw.

    Chance Joseph Conrad
  • Then smiling a wide, toothless smile, she laid her finger on her lips.

    The Secret of the Storm Country Grace Miller White
  • For all the old fellow was toothless, Jimmy saw that his claws were long and sharp.

    The Tale of Jimmy Rabbit Arthur Scott Bailey
  • Violence amongst these toothless, tottering, trembling, feeble ones?

    Roundabout Papers William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Across the face, like a gash, the toothless, grinning mouth.

    The Frontier Maurice LeBlanc
Word Origin and History for toothless

late 14c., in literal sense, from tooth + -less. Figurative sense of "dull" is recorded from 1590s; that of "lacking enforcement powers" is first recorded 1961. Related: Toothlessly; toothlessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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