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 selflessness

Contemporary Examples of selflessness

Historical Examples of selflessness

  • My life work will be to drag him down from his pinnacle of selflessness!

    Jane Journeys On

    Ruth Comfort Mitchell

  • So it will be your own greed, your own selflessness that will eventually win or lose this battle.

    Captives of the Flame

    Samuel R. Delany

  • The nobility and absolute 'selflessness' of Liszt's playing had to be heard to be understood.

    Franz Liszt

    James Huneker

  • Then he was no longer to value the humility and modesty attached to selflessness.

    William Blake

    Charles Gardner

  • They reproached him with the selflessness that made him somewhat languid.

    The Rhythm of Life

    Alice Meynell

British Dictionary definitions for selflessness



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 selflessness



"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