without the power or desire to do harm; innocuous: He looks mean but he's harmless; a harmless Halloween prank.
without injury; unhurt; unharmed.


    hold harmless, Law. to relieve from responsibility or liability for any damage or loss.Also save harmless.

Origin of harmless

1250–1300; Middle English. See harm, -less
Related formsharm·less·ly, adverbharm·less·ness, noun

Synonyms for harmless

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for harmless

Contemporary Examples of harmless

Historical Examples of harmless

  • He's harmless, with his drawl and his round pink face that shines with admiration.

  • Thus our conversation ran--decorous and harmless enough, in all conscience.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • But the harmless chearfulness of their conversation did not last long.


    William Godwin

  • I am as harmless and as chearly as the little red-breast that pecks out of my hand?


    William Godwin

  • And especially the cruel to the poor, harmless dumb creatures.

British Dictionary definitions for harmless



not causing any physical or mental damage or injury
unlikely to annoy or worry peoplea harmless sort of man
Derived Formsharmlessly, adverbharmlessness, 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

Word Origin and History for harmless

c.1300, "uninjured," from harm (n.) + -less. Meaning "undamaged" is from late 14c. Related: Harmlessly; harmlessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper