From Middle English nameles, equivalent to name + -less. Cognate with Dutch naamloos (“nameless”), German namenlos (“nameless”), Danish navnløs (“nameless”), Swedish namnlös (“nameless”), Icelandic nafnlaus (“nameless, anonymous”).
Audio (US) (file)
nameless (not comparable)
- Not having a name; unnamed.
- Whose name is unknown; unidentified or obscure; anonymous.
- Unable to be described or expressed.
- 1887, H. Rider Haggard, She: A History of Adventure, page 126:
- Minute grew into minute, and still there was no sign of life, nor did the curtain move; but I felt the gaze of the unknown being sinking through and through me, and filling me with a nameless terror, till the perspiration stood in beads upon my brow.
- (dated, of a child) Illegitimate.
- Synonyms: see Thesaurus:illegitimate
- 1953, James Baldwin, “Elizabeth’s Prayer”, in Go Tell It on the Mountain, New York, N.Y.: Dell Publishing Co., published October 1970, OCLC 70453921, part 2 (The Prayers of the Saints), page 175:
- He said that he would cherish her until the grave, and that he would love her nameless son as though he were his own flesh.