1. Devoid of wind; calm.
    • 1820, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Prometheus Unbound, London: C. & J. Ollier, Act IV, p. 150,
      Ye kings of suns and stars, Dæmons and Gods,
      Ætherial Dominations, who possess
      Elysian, windless, fortunate abodes
      Beyond Heaven’s constellated wilderness:
    • 1881, Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady, Volume I, Chapter 12,
      “ […] It’s for life, Miss Archer, it’s for life,” Lord Warburton repeated in the kindest, tenderest, pleasantest voice Isabel had ever heard, and looking at her with eyes charged with the light of a passion that had sifted itself clear of the baser parts of emotion—the heat, the violence, the unreason—and that burned as steadily as a lamp in a windless place.
    • 1928, D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Chapter 2,
      […] when the wind was that way, which was often, the house was full of the stench of this sulphurous combustion of the earth’s excrement. But even on windless days the air always smelt of something under-earth: sulphur, iron, coal, or acid.
  2. Out of breath.
    • 1600, Philemon Holland (translator), The Romane Historie Written by T. Livius of Padua, London: George Sawbridge, 1659, Book 8, p. 253,
      Then came others one after another, windless with running, crying out and saying, that all was gone: and that every where the souldiers goods were rifled, ransacked and carried clean away.
    • 1608, Thomas Dekker, “City-Hunting” in Lanthorne and Candle-Light, published in The Guls Hornbook and The Belman of London in two parts, London: J.M. Dent, 1905, p. 211,
      This Ferret-Hunting hath his Seasons as other games have, and is onely followed at such a time of yeare, when the Gentry of our kingdome by riots, having chased them-selves out of the faire revenewes and large possession left to them by their ancestors, are forced to hide their heads like Conies, in little caves and in unfrequented places: or else being almost windles, by running after sensuall pleasures too feircely, they are glad (for keeping them-selves in breath so long as they can) to fal to Ferret-hunting, that is to say, to take up commodities.

windless (plural windlesses)

  1. (obsolete) Alternative form of windlass
    • 1661, “Of making cloth with sheeps wool,” in The History of the Royal Society of London for Improving of Natural Knowledge, Volume I, London: A. Millar, 1756, p. 62,
      The next work is racking or tentering the cloth […] and this is performed by setting it in a frame, which we call tenters, such as are to be seen in many fields about London, wherein (it having a windless at one end) it is first strained to its length, then afterwards to its breadth and parallelism […]
    • 1724, Daniel Defoe, A General History of the Pirates, London: T. Warner, 2nd edition, Chapter, pp. 114-115,
      […] the Boatswain immediately called to his Consorts, laid hold of the Captain, and made him fast to the Windless, and there pelted him with Glass Bottles, which cut him in a sad Manner […]

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