Definitions

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

  • adj. Not causing or incapable of causing harm.
  • adj. Not intended to harm or offend; inoffensive.
  • adj. Free from loss or legal liability: Under the agreement, I would be held harmless if the other parties defaulted.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. incapable of causing harm or danger
  • adj. not intended to harm; inoffensive
  • adj. safe

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Free from harm; unhurt.
  • adj. Free from power or disposition to harm; innocent; inoffensive.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Free from physical harm; unhurt; undamaged; uninjured: as, he escaped harmless.
  • Free from loss; free from liability to pay for loss or damage: as, to hold or save one harmless.
  • Free from power or disposition to harm; not hurtful or injurious; innocent: as, a harmless snake; harmless play.
  • Inoffensive, unoffending, innocuous, in-noxious.

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

  • adj. not causing or capable of causing harm

Etymologies

harm +‎ -less (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • So then we had the question then of whether it was subject to what we call harmless error, and we said, yes, it is, so then of the cases that had come up, we had to first see if there was error, and then if there was error, was it harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Oral History Interview with Henry Ell Frye, February 18 and 26, 1992. Interview C-0091. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)

  • When Pliny the younger was proprætor of the province of Pontica in Asia Minor, he wrote to ask the Emperor what to do about the Christians, telling him what he had been able to find out about them from two slave girls who had been tortured; namely, that they were wont to meet together at night or early morning, to sing together, and eat what he called a harmless social meal.

    Young Folks' History of Rome

  • Our daily routine include attending lectures, facing one struggle or the other, fighting for the rights of students, studying, gisting with friends or just do "God knows what" in harmless ways.

    Archive 2009-07-01

  • Its harm can be mitigated or directed in harmless directions (ie Red Sox vs. Yankees), but never removed.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » AG Blumenthal’s Record

  • Secret Service should know that terrorist can come in harmless but more harmful and dangerous inside.

    White House crashers named in 16 civil suits

  • Often with only an hour or two notice, groups of folks, of various ages, gather to participate in harmless, goofy activity.

    Hijinks Ensue

  • Because they resemble certain harmless garter-snake like species, they were imported into the U.S. and U.K. under the wrong names, and ended up causing medically-significant emergencies when they bit their new owners.

    Archive 2007-01-01

  • To understand the privacy issue one has to look at the big picture to understand that each new piece of information collected about us, no matter how seemingly harmless, is increasingly being added together with thousands of other data points to create an extremely intrusive, high-resolution picture of our lives.

    Boing Boing: January 12, 2003 - January 18, 2003 Archives

  • But aside from all that, the notion that Yankee Stadium will render Giambi harmless is just plain silly.

    USATODAY.com - Yankee Stadium won't fence Giambi in

  • It creeps higher and higher, and now gun after gun booming on the still night, as the fire reaches them; the batteries of the Congress are discharged across the water in harmless thunder.

    The Confederate Account of the Naval Fight in Hampton Roads

Comments

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  • also describes a decaf espresso

    December 10, 2010