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From Middle English graceles; equivalent to grace +‎ -less.


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graceless (comparative more graceless, superlative most graceless)

  1. Without grace.
    • c. 1590, William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, Act V, Scene 2, [1]
      Such duty as the subject owes the prince, / Even such a woman oweth to her husband; / And when she is froward, peevish, sullen, sour, / And not obedient to his honest will, / What is she but a foul contending rebel / And graceless traitor to her loving lord?
    • 1734, Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man, Epistle III, [2]
      For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight; / His can't be wrong whose life is in the right;
    • 1881, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Sonnet XXXII, "Equal Troth," in The House of Life, [3]
      Not by one measure mayst thou mete our love; / For how should I be loved as I love thee? — / I, graceless, joyless, lacking absolutely / All gifts that with thy queenship best behove; — []
    • 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald, chapter 3, in The Great Gatsby[4]:
      There was dancing now on the canvas in the garden, old men pushing young girls backward in eternal graceless circles, superior couples holding each other tortuously, fashionably and keeping in the corners []
    • 1972, Roland Barthes, "Toys" in Mythologies (1957), translated by Annette Lavers, New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, p. 54,
      Current toys are made of a graceless material, the product of chemistry, not of nature.
    • 1995, Susan Sontag, "The Art of Fiction No. 143," Interview with Edward Hirsch published in The Paris Review, No. 137, Winter, 1995, p. 7,
      [Hirsch:] Do you mind being called an intellectual? [Sontag:] Well, one never likes to be called anything. [] I suppose there will always be a presumption of graceless oddity—especially if one is a woman.
  2. Lacking gracefulness
    • 1961, Irving Stone, The Agony and the Ecstasy, New York: Signet, p. 64,
      The boy sketched his roughhewn young contadino just in from the fields, naked except for his brache, kneeling to take off his clodhoppers; the flesh tones a sunburned amber, the figure clumsy, with graceless bumpkin muscles; but the face transfused with light as the young lad gazed up at John.
  3. (archaic) Unfortunate.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, in The Faerie Queene, Books Three and Four, edited by Dorothy Stephens, Indianapolis: Hackett, 2006, Book IV, Canto 3, Stanza 8, p. 291,
      Much was he grieved with that gracelesse chaunce, / Yet from the wound no drop of bloud there fell, / But wondrous paine, that did the more enhaunce / His haughtie courage to advengement fell: / Smart daunts not mighty harts, but makes them more to swell.



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