Feckless vs reckless

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Feckless and reckless are two words that are sometimes confused. Though feckless and reckless rhyme, they have two very different definitions. We will examine the meanings of the word feckless and reckless, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Feckless means irresponsible, weak, lacking determination, incompetent or ineffectual. Someone who is feckless lacks the ability or the will to do anything right. The word feckless was first used in the late 1500s and is derived from the  Scottish word feck, an abbreviation of the word effect, and the suffix -less, meaning can not or does not. Related terms are fecklessly and fecklessness.

Reckless describes acting without thinking, acting in a headlong or rash manner, impetuousness. The word reckless is derived from the Old English word reccelēas, meaning thoughtless. Related words are recklessly and recklessness.


He is willing to sit down with any world leader to make peace through strength (as opposed to the feckless appeasement shown by the last administration). (The Island Packet)

Samantha Bee has thanked her bosses at Turner for their continued support after the Full Frontal host was forced to apologize for calling Ivanka Trump a “feckless c***” and suggesting her father, the president, was sexually attracted to his own daughter. (Newsweek Magazine)

State Rep. Timm Ormsby, D-Spokane, has pleaded guilty to reckless driving for a February incident in which he lost control of his vehicle and rolled it into a neighbor’s yard in Thurston County. (The News Tribune)

Nothing shows better how far the #MeToo pendulum has swung than the reckless recall of Judge Aaron Persky from the Santa Clara County Superior Court. (The San Francisco Chronicle)