Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Having or displaying no guile, cunning, or deceit. See Synonyms at naive.
  • adj. Free of artificiality; natural: artless charm.
  • adj. Lacking art, knowledge, or skill; uncultured and ignorant.
  • adj. Poorly made or done; crude.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having or displaying no guile, cunning, or deceit.
  • adj. Free of artificiality; natural.
  • adj. Lacking art, knowledge, or skill; uncultured and ignorant.
  • adj. Poorly made or done; crude.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Wanting art, knowledge, or skill; ignorant; unskillful.
  • adj. Contrived without skill or art; inartistic.
  • adj. Free from guile, art, craft, or stratagem; characterized by simplicity and sincerity; sincere; guileless; ingenuous; honest

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Unskilful; wanting art, knowledge, or skill.
  • Without knowledge of art; ignorant of the fine arts.
  • Showing no artistic skill; inartistic; rude.
  • Free from guile, craft, or stratagem; simple; sincere; unaffected; undesigning; unsophisticated: as, an artless mind.
  • Synonyms Guileless, open, candid, frank, natural, unaffected, ingenuous, simple-minded, naıve, honest.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. showing lack of art
  • adj. simple and natural; without cunning or deceit
  • adj. (of persons) lacking art or knowledge
  • adj. characterized by an inability to mask your feelings; not devious

Etymologies

art +‎ -less, with "art" usually in the sense of trickery. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Madame Draga's establishment was a meeting-ground for naked truths and over-dressed fictions, and it was here, the Woman felt, that she might make a final effort to recall the artless mendacity of past days.

    Reginald

  • The scene, so highly interesting to those who witnessed it, was to him insupportable, and he had left the room in agony, bitterly inveighing against his own folly, for having suffered it to take place, and secretly denouncing future vengeance upon the usurper of his rights, for so he basely termed the artless Yamboo.

    Yamboo; or, the North American Slave

  • It is fair to call the narrative a technology because it is frequently described as "artless"; that is, it seems to work without the application of a designing mind.

    Site Two: Salisbury Plain, Sympathy, and Historicism.

  • In Sky I first observed the use of Brogues, a kind of artless shoes, stitched with thongs so loosely, that though they defend the foot from stones, they do not exclude water.

    A Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland

  • They are "artless" only insofar as they embody an aesthetic distinct from the abbey's inventory of images made by professional artists.

    'Nuns As Artists'

  • I wrote "artless" as a politer way of saying that it seems simple-minded and vulgar to hope that one's friends look like movie stars.

    Nelson Algren: An Exchange

  • His own scores reveal him as the most artful of 'artless' composers.

    "Marse Henry" : an autobiography,

  • Yet in spite of this dreadful tenue he greeted me without embarrassment and indeed with a kind of artless pleasure.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

  • [484] 'In Sky I first observed the use of brogues, a kind of artless shoes, stitched with thongs so loosely, that, though they defend the foot from stones, they do not exclude water.'

    Life of Johnson

  • Beside this group of, in every sense of the word, 'artless' little country girls, I will now set one -- in the best sense of the word -- 'artful' little country girl, -- a sketch by Gainsborough.

    Ariadne Florentina Six Lectures on Wood and Metal Engraving

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.