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 restlessness

Contemporary Examples of restlessness

Historical Examples of restlessness

  • Other, though fainter, sounds than these contributed to my restlessness.

  • Now every minute's inaction increased this spirit of restlessness.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • The difference only between the eagle and the vulture,—serenity or restlessness.

    The Black Tulip

    Alexandre Dumas (Pere)

  • They were saddled with neither the indifference nor the restlessness of the modern intellect.

    Albert Durer

    T. Sturge Moore

  • The stupor and the restlessness had alike vanished; he was in a deep sleep.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

British Dictionary definitions for restlessness



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 restlessness



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