characterized by or showing inability to remain at rest: a restless mood.
unquiet or uneasy, as a person, the mind, or the heart.
never at rest; perpetually agitated or in motion: the restless sea.
without rest; without restful sleep: a restless night.
unceasingly active; averse to quiet or inaction, as persons: a restless crowd.

Origin of restless

before 1000; Middle English restles, Old English restlēas. See rest1, -less
Related formsrest·less·ly, adverbrest·less·ness, noun

Synonyms for restless Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for restlessly

Contemporary Examples of restlessly

  • But as a salesman, he's actually quite a natural, restlessly promoting a product that doesn't look any prettier than he does.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Mayor of Inspiration

    Samuel P. Jacobs

    October 10, 2010

Historical Examples of restlessly

  • After Dan's departure in the sleigh, Tom wandered about restlessly.

  • Alexander moved about restlessly and fell to poking the fire.

    Alexander's Bridge and The Barrel Organ

    Willa Cather and Alfred Noyes

  • As he was at his ordinary daily work his mind was restlessly busy.


    James Anthony Froude

  • "It must have been plenty far away," said Calhoun restlessly.

    Pariah Planet

    Murray Leinster

  • "I don't understand a word—not a syllable," said Garrison restlessly.

    Garrison's Finish

    W. B. M. Ferguson

British Dictionary definitions for restlessly



unable to stay still or quiet
ceaselessly active or movingthe restless wind
worried; anxious; uneasy
not restful; without reposea restless night
Derived Formsrestlessly, adverbrestlessness, 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 restlessly



late 14c., from rest (n.1) + -less. A general Germanic compound (cf. Frisian restleas, Dutch rusteloos, German rastlos, Danish rastlös). Meaning "stirring constantly, desirous of action" is attested from late 15c. Related: Restlessly; restlessness. Old English had restleas "deprived of sleep."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper