having little or no concern for oneself, especially with regard to fame, position, money, etc.; unselfish.

Origin of selfless

First recorded in 1815–25; self + -less
Related formsself·less·ly, adverbself·less·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for selfless

Contemporary Examples of selfless

Historical Examples of selfless

  • He should have that oil of joy for his work, for his high, selfless purposes.

    Jane Journeys On

    Ruth Comfort Mitchell

  • Mrs. Trevor accounted him the most devoted and selfless friend that woman ever had.

    The Rough Road

    William John Locke

  • He enlarged on this theme, on the Kingdom which can belong only to those who are selfless.

    In the Wilderness

    Robert Hichens

  • There were, needless to say, selfless exceptions to the egotistic rule.

    After the Rain

    Sam Vaknin

  • The yearning yet selfless love which it expressed was not for my eyes to witness.

    Bat Wing

    Sax Rohmer

British Dictionary definitions for selfless



having little concern for one's own interests
Derived Formsselflessly, adverbselflessness, 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 selfless

"devoted to others' welfare or interest and not one's own," 1825, from self + -less. First attested in Coleridge. Related: Selflessly; selflessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper