Definitions

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

  • adj. Not feeling or showing gratitude; ungrateful.
  • adj. Not likely to be appreciated: a thankless job.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. not appreciated or rewarded
  • adj. ungrateful or unappreciative

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Not acknowledging favors; not expressing thankfulness; unthankful; ungrateful.
  • adj. Not obtaining or deserving thanks; unacceptable.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Unthankful; ungrateful; not acknowledging kindness or benefits.
  • Not deserving thanks, or not likely to be rewarded with thanks: as, a thankless task.
  • Synonyms See grateful.

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

  • adj. not feeling or showing gratitude
  • adj. not likely to be rewarded

Etymologies

From thank +‎ -less. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • That being said, natural charisma goes a long way and even in thankless, underwritten parts, my biggest complaint was that I wanted to see more of the characters.

    WHIP IT Blu-ray Review – Collider.com

  • KOINANGE (voice-over): Ten years of glitz and glamour, honoring the men and women who serve in what many here call a thankless profession.

    CNN Transcript Jul 16, 2005

  • European Powers is exhausted on Poland, and that neither pity nor shame will induce them to break a thankless neutrality, here; but in the face of all barely probable contingencies, I doubt no more of the ultimate result, than I doubt of the ultimate performance of the justice of God.

    Border and Bastille

  • GOLDMAN: The BCS hired Hancock in 2005, partly because he had the right temperament for what one BCS official calls a thankless job.

    NPR Topics: News

  • Not only didn't he mind being given a job often described as thankless, but in real life David

    latimes.com - News

  • The jobs, and many others that could be called thankless, fall to inmates at the Wicomico County Detention Center.

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  • Hopefully, the best parts of this game will be imitated and improved upon by future games in the genre, adding real strategy back into a group of games now best known as a thankless grind for bigger and bigger numbers.

    Verbal Spew

  • News at Eleven: Andrew Motion has said that the job of writing verse for the Royal Family is "thankless" and even gave him a case of writer's block.

    Archive 2009-03-01

  • As to your plea for sympathy about your "thankless" task, Alice, to put it bluntly, shove off.

    I Guess Alice Feiring Doesn't Like Long Island Wine...Or Hasn't Tasted Much of It

  • I almost said "thankless", but that would not be true.

    A Bit of a Quandary

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