English edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English hertles, herteles, from Old English heortlēas (without courage; listless), equivalent to heart +‎ -less.

Pronunciation edit

Adjective edit

heartless (comparative more heartless, superlative most heartless)

  1. (obsolete) Without courage; fearful, cowardly. [10th–19th c.]
    • 1782, Frances Burney, Cecilia, II.iii.7:
      Cecilia then, though almost heartless, resolved upon talking with Mr. Harrel himself […].
  2. (now rare) Listless, unenthusiastic. [from 14th c.]
  3. Without a physical heart. [from 15th c.]
  4. Without feeling, emotion, or concern for others; uncaring. [from 16th c.]
    His heartless actions and cold manner left her saddened and feeling alone.
    • 1982 August 14, Michael Bronski, “If You Hated The Book You'll Loathe The Movie”, in Gay Community Journal, volume 10, number 5, page 11:
      The world is a dangerous, violent place [] and the only true refuge from this heartless world is the family.
    • 2012 April 29, Nathan Rabin, “TV: Review: THE SIMPSONS (CLASSIC): “Treehouse of Horror III” (season 4, episode 5; originally aired 10/29/1992)”, in The A.V. Club[1]:
      Mr. Burns is similarly perfectly cast as a heartless capitalist willing to do anything for a quick buck, even if it means endangering the lives of those around him and Marge elegantly rounds out the main cast as a good, pure-hearted and overly indulgent woman who sees the big, good heart (literally and metaphorically) of a monstrous man-brute.

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