feck·​less | \ ˈfek-ləs How to pronounce feckless (audio) \

Definition of feckless

1 : weak, ineffective She can't rely on her feckless son.
2 : worthless, irresponsible a feckless maneuver that could only serve to strengthen the enemy— Simon Schama

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Other Words from feckless

fecklessly adverb
fecklessness noun

Did You Know?

Someone feckless is lacking in feck. And what, you may ask, is feck? Feck is a Scots term that means "effect" or "majority" and comes from an alteration of the Middle English effect. So something without feck is without effect, or ineffective. In the past, feckful (meaning "efficient," "sturdy," or "powerful") made an occasional appearance. But in this case, the weak has outlived the strong: feckless is a commonly used English word, but feckful has fallen out of use.

Examples of feckless in a Sentence

She can't rely on her feckless son. a well-intentioned but feckless response to the rise in school violence
Recent Examples on the Web Though Hoichi survives and prospers, his epithet is a clue about which part of his body a feckless monk forgets to paint. Christopher Carroll, The New York Review of Books, 25 May 2021 When one of Rambo’s overseas handlers—a feckless government bureaucrat based in Thailand—turns out to be lying about his military service record, Rambo more or less shrugs it off. Chris Lehmann, The New Republic, 21 May 2021 Essentially, college sports needs the federal legislative branch to save an inept, bumbling, feckless NCAA from itself. Mike Finger, San Antonio Express-News, 6 May 2021 The additions of two transfers, Kenneth Walker III and offensive tackle Jarrett Horst, are not only expected to enhance the team’s feckless rushing attack but also improve the vertical passing game by making the play-action element more substantial. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, 25 Apr. 2021 By maintaining a Trump-era policy backing the export of lethal weapons to Kiev, Biden has avoided the pitfalls of feckless Obama administration policies. The Editors, National Review, 27 Apr. 2021 There were multiple suicide attempts, and there were men, alternately feckless and controlling, some of whom left her and at least one of whom—Kenneth Doolittle, a sailor and an opium addict—destroyed some of her work. Hilton Als, The New Yorker, 19 Apr. 2021 On Frank of Ireland, a ribald Irish sitcom that bows on Amazon Prime Video Friday, Brian Gleeson (Phantom Thread) plays a feckless and egomaniacal singer-songwriter named Frank who lives with his mother, Mary (Pom Boyd). Clark Collis, EW.com, 14 Apr. 2021 Portraits of a few of these feckless rotters line the wall on the way to dinner, along with the portrait of another of the doughty women who seem to keep popping up in Yorkshire. Joshua Levine, Travel + Leisure, 7 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'feckless.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of feckless

circa 1585, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for feckless

Scots, from feck effect, majority, from Middle English (Scots) fek, alteration of Middle English effect

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Time Traveler for feckless

Time Traveler

The first known use of feckless was circa 1585

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Statistics for feckless

Last Updated

30 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Feckless.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feckless. Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for feckless



English Language Learners Definition of feckless

: having or resulting from a weak character or nature


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