As in, an expectation-free hug with your partner. Doing something without expecting anything in return, but not necessarily selfless. I hoped "nonexpecting" was a word, but it seems reserved for pregnancy 🙂

EDIT: Thanks for the suggestions! My example may not have been the best. I don't mean necessarily platonic or friendly, because the attitude can apply to anything. I've heard the words "wishless" and "hopeless" in some Buddhist contexts, interestingly, but those seem wonky as well.

  • Single word requests should always be accompanied by the sentence in which you intend to use the word (leave a blank for the word).
    – Greybeard
    Commented Dec 4, 2022 at 11:10

9 Answers 9


How about unassuming? As in an unassuming (not having or showing a desire to be noticed, praised, etc.) hug.

  • 1
    Good word! Make sure to include your sources when defining a word, as it makes your answer more reputable and more likely to be upvoted. Commented Apr 29, 2018 at 22:32

The scenario you are describing is similar to a no strings attached situation.

A term to describe a generous person that doesn't expect anything in return would be altruistic:

Showing a disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others; unselfish.
‘it was an entirely altruistic act’

As an abuse of language, there is usage to apply the adjective (or synonym, like unselfish, or selfless) to the thing given rather than the person giving it. It is understood that the usage means the person providing the thing has the quality.

A blood donation is truly an altruistic gift that an individual can give to others in need.
Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies

You may also consider unconditioned.

  1. Not subject to conditions or to an antecedent condition; unconditional.
    ‘pure and unconditioned love’


Or perhaps free.

  1. Given or available without charge.
    free healthcare’


Either can be used to express the sentiment that there is no obligation to provide anything in return.

However, specifically to the hug example, an appropriate phrase would be a friendly hug:

Note that I provided this suggestion before the question was edited to specifically exclude it.

  1. : of, relating to, or befitting a friend: such as
    a. : showing kindly interest and goodwill
         friendly neighbors


An example of its usage:

A friendly hug is when two people embrace each other briefly and then quickly withdraw from the hug; it only lasts for a short period of time. Also, a friendly hug is often accompanied by a pat on the other person’s back to indicate their platonic relationship.


I’m surprised no one has yet suggested disinterested, which would be perfect in some contexts. Beware of confusion with “uninterested,” of course.

According to Dictionary.com, disinterested is an adjective meaning:

unbiased by personal interest or advantage; not influenced by selfish motives

Example from the same source:

a disinterested decision by the referee.

Attribution: "Disinterested." Dictionary.com. Accessed March 31, 2018. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/disinterested?s=t.

  • 1
    Please add sources to support your answers.
    – JJJ
    Commented Mar 30, 2018 at 20:59
  • From Dictionary.com:adjective 1. unbiased by personal interest or advantage; not influenced by selfish motives: a disinterested decision by the referee.
    – RD in NY
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 10:27

insouciant TFD

Marked by blithe unconcern; nonchalant.


I found my way here looking for "free from expectation" and "no pressure" and settled on casual

 1. relaxed and unconcerned.
Google/Oxford Languages

 3 a (1) : done without serious intent or commitment
Merriam Webster

For example:
I am casually providing this for review at your discretion.
Here is a good casual read.


Word that means “free from expectation"?

I would use detached: (dɪtætʃt ) 1. adjective Someone who is detached is not personally involved in something or has no emotional interest in it.

...Or detachment, for the noun form.

Can the Practice of Buddhist Detachment Make you Feel Happier?

  • cursory1 literally means it’s something done in passing, superficially, with no deeper meaning intended, likely taking little time.
  • innocuous2 is obviously related to innocent and literally means ‘harmless’ or ‘not hurting’, especially in a sense that something is not intended to inflict harm whether it does or not.
  • complimentary3 (not complementary) means something is done out of politeness because it is the proper, civil thing to do, i.e. complying to those social customs. courteous3 or by courtesy aims for a higher, more noble standard.
  • unconditional4 and termless5 are probably closest to the meaning of ‘not expecting anything in return’, but they seem too strong.
  • without any ulterior6 motives is descriptive but not a single word.


adjective Given or done for nothing; free.
‘gratis books’
Oxford Living Dictionaries

Can be used as adjective or adverb. I'd point out that "gratuitous" can have the same meaning, however notice it is definition number 2, meaning its more common use is slightly different:

1.Done without good reason; uncalled for.
‘gratuitous violence’

2.Given or done free of charge.
‘solicitors provide a form of gratuitous legal advice’
Oxford Living Dictionaries

I'd note also that "gratis" or "gratuitous" in the second sense, as far as I know, might be interchangeable with "free".


The term "supererogatory" seems to capture part of what you are trying to say. It refers to morally good acts that are highly recommended but not strictly required. Donating blood to charity or forgiving a stranger for his remarks are examples of such acts.

Less technically, we may say "beyond duty" or in Scottish "outwith duty".

Still more colloquially, we may say "nice" as opposed to "kind" to behaviors that go beyond what is due. For example, we may call someone "nice" or "awfully nice" for holding the door for every stranger that comes after him. And we may call someone "kind" for holding the door only for people in wheelchair.

  • 1
    Supererogatory seems to be in a register way above the little context we have.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Dec 4, 2022 at 11:11

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