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wordless +‎ -ness


wordlessness (usually uncountable, plural wordlessnesses)

  1. The state of being wordless, speechlessness. [from the early 19th century]
    • 1834, ‘P.’, “Margaret Campbell” in American Ladies’ Magazine, Volume 7, No. 5, May 1834, p. 203,[1]
      The peculiarity of their attachment, one made up of gentle attentions and pleasant thoughts together, its wordlessness, and its mysterious ending, all had charms for a mind, which naturally clear and direct, had been led by love into a pensive and thoughtful habit.
    • 1951, Pat Frank, Hold Back the Night, Philadelphia: Lippincott, Chapter Seven,[2]
      Whenever you abandon ground to the enemy, it is retreat, however words coat and oil it, and there is a special sound to American troops in retreat. It is their wordlessness, their silence. All the sounds Mackenzie could hear were mechanical.
    • 2007, Lawrence Hill, The Book of Negroes (published in the U.S. as Someone Knows My Name), New York: Norton, “God willing,” p. 435,[3]
      Terrified as they already were, I could imagine their tension boiling over into hysteria, wordlessness and in some cases madness when they were stuffed into slave ships like fish into buckets, hauled across the seas and sold—if they survived—at auctions.