sap +‎ -less


sapless (comparative more sapless, superlative most sapless)

  1. (of a plant) Lacking in sap.
    • 1820, Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Ode to the West Wind,” III, in Prometheus Unbound, with Other Poems, London: C. & J. Ollier, pp. 191-192,[1]
      [] Thou
      For whose path the Atlantic’s level powers
      Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
      The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
      The sapless foliage of the ocean, know
      Thy voice, and suddenly grow grey with fear,
      And tremble to despoil themselves: O, hear!
    • 1861, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Elsie Venner, Boston: Ticknor & Fields, Volume I, Chapter 13, p. 234,[2]
      Below, all their earthward-looking branches are sapless and shattered, splintered by the weight of many winters’ snows; above, they are still green and full of life, but their summits overtop all the deciduous trees around them, and in their companionship with heaven they are alone.
  2. (figuratively, of a person etc.) Lacking vivacity.
    • 1591, William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 5,[3]
      O young John Talbot! I did send for thee
      To tutor thee in stratagems of war,
      That Talbot’s name might be in thee revived
      When sapless age and weak unable limbs
      Should bring thy father to his drooping chair.
    • 1633, George Herbert, “Nature” in The Temple, 5th edition, Cambridge University, 1638,[4]
      O smooth my rugged heart, and there
      Engrave thy rev’rend Law and fear:
      Or make a new one, since the old
      Is saplesse grown,
      And a much fitter stone
      To hide my dust, then thee to hold.