English edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English harmles, from Old English *hearmlēas, from Proto-Germanic *harmalausaz (without harm; harmless), equivalent to harm +‎ -less.

Cognate with German harmlos (harmless), Danish harmløs (harlmess), Swedish harmlös (harmless).

Pronunciation edit

Adjective edit

harmless (comparative more harmless, superlative most harmless)

  1. Incapable of causing harm or danger; safe.
  2. Not intended to harm; inoffensive.
    • 1921, Ben Travers, chapter 5, in A Cuckoo in the Nest, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page & Company, published 1925, →OCLC:
      The most rapid and most seductive transition in all human nature is that which attends the palliation of a ravenous appetite. [] Can those harmless but refined fellow-diners be the selfish cads whose gluttony and personal appearance so raised your contemptuous wrath on your arrival?
  3. (obsolete) Unharmed.

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