feckless

adjective
feck·​less | \ˈfek-ləs \

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

In truth, millennials aren't a uniform cohort of feckless young people. refinery29.com, "Not An Entitled Millennial: How 4 Young Women Support Their Whole Families," 27 June 2018 But a fine cast (including Bobby Cannavale as Laura’s feckless ex-husband) can’t compensate for the screenplay’s superficial sentimentality and lazy slapstick. That Rolls-Royce is pretty sweet, though. Shana Feste, New York Times, "Review: A Father and Daughter Renegotiate ‘Boundaries’," 21 June 2018 With the exception of a few Governors like Baker, Hogan and Kasich it is filled with feckless cowards who disgrace and dishonor the legacies of the party’s greatest leaders. Tara Golshan, Vox, "A prominent GOP strategist has left the Republican Party over family separations at the border," 20 June 2018 In this wise, discomfiting novel, a feckless American travels to the west of Ireland, marries into a local family, then looks for love elsewhere. New York Times, "11 New Books We Recommend This Week," 15 Feb. 2018 And so the feckless schemes of the conservatives realized the violent dreams of the Nazis. Timothy Snyder, New York Times, "How Did the Nazis Gain Power in Germany?," 14 June 2018 For years, Trump and other Republicans had criticized Obama for cozying up to dictators and looking feckless and weak on the world stage. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "Has North Korea already trumped the U.S. in the propaganda war?," 2 June 2018 Aesthetics had been reduced to an ornament for a feckless élite. Tobi Haslett, The New Yorker, "The Man Who Led the Harlem Renaissance—and His Hidden Hungers," 11 May 2018 His mother, increasingly disappointed in her feckless husband as the years passed, placed more and more pressure to succeed on Subbarow and his siblings. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "We Are Scientists," 5 June 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near feckless

feck

fecket

feckful

feckless

feckly

feculency

feculent

Statistics for feckless

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Time Traveler for feckless

The first known use of feckless was circa 1585

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More Definitions for feckless

feckless

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of feckless

: having or resulting from a weak character or nature

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