From Middle English graceles; equivalent to grace +‎ -less.


  • IPA(key): /ˈɡɹeɪsləs/
  • (file)


graceless (comparative more graceless, superlative most graceless)

  1. Without grace.
    • c. 1590–1592, William Shakespeare, “The Taming of the Shrew”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act V, scene ii], page 229, column 1:
      Such dutie as the ſubject owes the Prince, / Euen ſuch a woman oweth to her husband: / And when ſhe is froward, peeuiſh, ſullen, ſowre, / And not obedient to his honeſt will, / What is ſhe but a foule contending Rebell / And graceleſſe Traitor to her louing Lord?
    • 1733, [Alexander Pope], An Essay on Man. [], epistle III, Dublin: Printed by S. Powell, for George Risk, [], George Ewing, [], and William Smith, [], OCLC 15795654, lines 306–307, page 19:
      For Modes of Faith let graceleſs Zealots fight; / His can't be wrong whoſe Life is in the right.
    • 1881, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Sonnet XXXII, "Equal Troth," in The House of Life, [1]:
      Not by one measure mayst thou mete our love; / For how should I be loved as I love thee? — / I, graceless, joyless, lacking absolutely / All gifts that with thy queenship best behove; — [...]
    • 1925, F[rancis] Scott Fitzgerald, chapter 3, in The Great Gatsby, New York, N.Y.: Charles Scribner’s Sons, OCLC 884653065; republished New York, N.Y.: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1953, →ISBN, page 46:
      There was dancing now on the canvas in the garden; old men pushing young girls backward in eternal graceless circles, superior couples holding each other tortuously, fashionably and keeping in the corners— [...]
    • 1972, Roland Barthes, "Toys" in Mythologies (1957), translated by Annette Lavers, New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, p. 54,
      Current toys are made of a graceless material, the product of chemistry, not of nature.
    • 1995, Susan Sontag, "The Art of Fiction No. 143," Interview with Edward Hirsch published in The Paris Review, No. 137, Winter, 1995, p. 7,
      [Hirsch:] Do you mind being called an intellectual? [Sontag:] Well, one never likes to be called anything. [...] I suppose there will always be a presumption of graceless oddity—especially if one is a woman.
  2. Lacking gracefulness
    • 1961, Irving Stone, The Agony and the Ecstasy, New York: Signet, p. 64,
      The boy sketched his roughhewn young contadino just in from the fields, naked except for his brache, kneeling to take off his clodhoppers; the flesh tones a sunburned amber, the figure clumsy, with graceless bumpkin muscles; but the face transfused with light as the young lad gazed up at John.
  3. (archaic) Unfortunate.



Derived termsEdit