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 What the appeal to such a feckless and ineffective international institution shows, above all else, is that the U.S. lacks any kind of mechanism for dealing with climate dislocations. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "America’s Climate Refugees Are Pleading for Help. The Government Has No Answer.," 24 Jan. 2020 Five white teenagers are connected in ways that only one of them understands in this story of awful wealthy white grandparents, their awful and feckless white adult children, and the woke grandchildren who regard their elders with contempt. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: All Woke—and All Winners," 31 Jan. 2020 And this isn't new — for months party grandees and big donors have been fretting that with Biden running such a feckless campaign, there isn't a strong not-Sanders campaign to unify around. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, "Is the media about to have a conniption fit over Bernie Sanders?," 17 Jan. 2020 The first revolution, in 2004, brought to power Viktor Yushchenko, who promised European-style reforms but ended up presiding over a feckless administration. Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, "How Trump’s Emissaries Put Pressure on Ukraine’s New President," 26 Oct. 2019 Among them are Blackett’s feckless, dissolute son, Monty, who is scheming to avoid military service; his daughter, Joan, a human viper; and the Human Condition, an elderly, mangy spaniel with his own preoccupations. Katherine A. Powers, Washington Post, "The sordid tale of the Borgias and other great audiobooks for your playlist," 26 Sep. 2019 Lawmakers for the first time are saying publicly that their caucus looks feckless, and some are fretting that their flimsy oversight and reliance on the courts to eventually rescue them have proved fruitless. Author: Philip Rucker, Robert Costa, Rachael Bade, Anchorage Daily News, "Analysis: Trump’s Ukraine call reveals a president convinced of his own invincibility," 22 Sep. 2019 After losing her virginity to the feckless Kyle (Timothée Chalamet), Lady Bird spirals and calls her mom to pick her up. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The 10 Best Movie Scenes of the 2010s," 31 Dec. 2019 Detractors call Johnson buffoonish and unprincipled, reckless and feckless. Christina Boyle, Los Angeles Times, "Boris Johnson, one of Britain’s most eccentric politicians, on track to be next prime minister," 22 July 2019

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

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The first known use of feckless was circa 1585

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Last Updated

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Feckless.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feckless. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for feckless


How to pronounce feckless (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of feckless

: having or resulting from a weak character or nature

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