Trend Watch

Feckless

When:

Lookups spiked on March 3, 2014.

Why:

Senator John McCain blamed President Obama's "feckless foreign policy" for the crisis in Ukraine. In a speech in Washington, McCain alleged that a lack of American assertiveness has enabled Russia's bold intervention. The phrase was widely repeated in reports of the speech, in part because such catchy alliteration makes for effective political rhetoric.

Feckless means "weak" or "ineffective." It comes from a shortened form of effect, so feckless literally means "without effect."

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