One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Without possessions; poor, destitute. Also: that does not have something specified. Also as noun: a destitute person; (with the) destitute people as a class. rare after Middle English.
2Scottish. Of words, speech, etc.: having no meaning or significance; empty. Now chiefly literary.
3English regional (Lincolnshire). Badly behaved, ill-mannered, rude.
4Scottish and English regional (midlands). Lacking resourcefulness; helpless, incapable, incompetent.
Old English. Originally (i) from Old English haefen the action or fact of having something, possession, property + -less; with the first element compare Old Icelandic hǫfn, in the same sense.
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