from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The character or state of being unselfish; generosity; thoughtfulness for others.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The state of being unselfish.

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

  • noun the quality of not putting yourself first but being willing to give your time or money or effort etc. for others
  • noun acting generously


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

unselfish +‎ -ness


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  • Equally characteristic of Julie's moral courage and unselfishness is the incident of how Madam Liberality suffered the doctor's assistant to extract the tooth fang whch had been accidentally left in her jaw, because her mother's "fixed scale of reward was sixpence for a tooth without fangs, and a shilling for one with them," and she wanted the larger sum to spend on Christmas-tree presents.

    Juliana Horatia Ewing and Her Books 1885

  • Those, indeed, who came often to her house were accustomed to speak warmly of her "unselfishness" -- by which they meant the easy patience with which she could listen, smile, and flatter.

    The Marriage of William Ashe Humphry Ward 1885

  • Besides her unselfishness, which is to me the highest as it is the rarest of virtues, hers is a sweet and noble character, and she is one of the gentlest souls that I have ever known.

    Captain Macklin Richard Harding Davis 1890

  • But the law of unselfishness, which is the very essence of a true Christian life, was already beginning to work unconsciously in this girl's heart, and it made her turn now and say to

    The Chautauqua Girls At Home 1841-1930 Pansy 1885

  • That kind of unselfishness has allowed coach Tom Pecora to fashion an offense that does not allow defenses to simply concentrate on Jenkins.

    Colonial Athletic Assosiation 2010

  • His "unselfishness," his "sweetness," of which these good men make so much, were only one aspect of the Philosophy of his whole life.

    Visions and Revisions A Book of Literary Devotions John Cowper Powys 1917

  • As employed everywhere outside of this particular theoretical controversy, the term "unselfishness" refers to the kind of aims and objects which habitually interest a man.

    democracy and Education : an Introduction to the Philosophy of Education 1916

  • She rates highly certain moral attractions, such as unselfishness and chivalry, but perhaps she attaches far more value to intellectual attractions than the man does in her case, doubtless because they are more distinctively masculine.

    Woman and Womanhood A Search for Principles 1909

  • As employed everywhere outside of this particular theoretical controversy, the term "unselfishness" refers to the kind of aims and objects which habitually interest a man.

    Democracy and Education: an introduction to the philosophy of education John Dewey 1905

  • Near by him sat his other half, the blessed woman whom he had led from the neighboring county to grace his home and bless his life with that more than talismanic power which God has given to women in the bestowment of that far-reaching unselfishness which is constantly suggesting the Virgin's Son, and which is at once the source and secret of her strength and influence.

    The old plantation : how we lived in great house and cabin before the war, 1901


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  • But where George was importunate, Dabney was almost greedy. Dabney was actually, at moments, almost selfish, and he was not. That is, she thought, frowning, George had not Dabney's kind of unselfishness which is a dread of selfishness, but the thoughtless kind, which is often cheated of even its flower like tender perennial that will disregard the winter earlier every year . . . .

    --Eudora Welty, 1946, Delta Wedding

    December 24, 2010