unfeeling; unkind; unsympathetic; harsh; cruel: heartless words; a heartless ruler.
Archaic. lacking courage or enthusiasm; spiritless; disheartened.

Origin of heartless

1300–50; Middle English herteles, Old English heortlēas. See heart, -less
Related formsheart·less·ly, adverbheart·less·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for heartlessly

Contemporary Examples of heartlessly

Historical Examples of heartlessly

  • Rose Eversley began to laugh helplessly; heartlessly, her sister thought.

  • The days and months passed, heartlessly confirming my conjecture, my belief.

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

  • This story, heartlessly and irreverently told, was the tragedy of my life!

  • Only because you are young and blind can you speak so heartlessly.

    Janet of the Dunes

    Harriet T. Comstock

  • To every appeal they heartlessly refused to divulge the key to the lock-in.

    Meeting of the Board

    Alan Edward Nourse

British Dictionary definitions for heartlessly



unkind or cruel; hard-hearted
Derived Formsheartlessly, adverbheartlessness, 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 heartlessly



Old English heortleas "dispirited, dejected;" see heart + -less. In Middle English with expanded senses "lacking in courage; foolish; listless; half-hearted; sluggish." Sense of "callous, cruel" is not certainly attested before Shelley used it in 1816. Literal meaning "lacking a heart, lifeless" (mid-15c.) is rare. Related: Heartlessly; heartlessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper