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 As America’s coronavirus death toll continues to rise, fueled by feckless leadership, ignorance and obstinance, LouCity’s 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh RIverhounds was a solid step toward a new normalcy. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville City FC fans take a solid step toward normalcy with debut of Lynn Family Stadium," 13 July 2020 First published in 1894, this romantic swashbuckler turns on the striking resemblance between a likable, slightly feckless young Englishman named Rudolf Rassendyll and the utterly boorish heir to Ruritania’s throne. Michael Dirda, WSJ, "‘Ruritania: A Cultural History’ Review: Charming Realms of Derring-Do," 26 June 2020 Having a reception seems especially feckless, because that part is specifically about interacting with other people. James Hamblin, The Atlantic, "Paging Dr. Hamblin: I’m Afraid to Go to My Brother’s Wedding," 17 June 2020 Over time, the virus itself may impose its own kind of discipline on feckless political leaders. Steven Erlanger, New York Times, "Coronavirus Tests Europe’s Cohesion, Alliances and Even Democracy," 12 Mar. 2020 The players must hope that move will not only help in the way it was intended, but also put an end to the public backlash, and to the easy depiction of them as feckless and greedy. New York Times, "Premier League Clubs and Players Are at War. Both Are Losing.," 4 Apr. 2020 If stopping Coriolanus had been left to the feckless and cowardly tribunes, Rome would have gone up in flames. Paul A. Cantor, WSJ, "‘Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics’ Review: The Burden of History," 6 Sep. 2018 Brady steadfastly refused to give the offense his imprimatur all season, turning saturnine about its feckless state after wins over Buffalo and Philadelphia. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Why Bill Belichick and Tom Brady should stick together," 3 Feb. 2020 Among her dirty deeds, of course, was the cynical decision to name reckless, feckless d-bag Jonah (Timothy Simons) as her VP, a lofty but loaded position from which he ultimately and not surprisingly would be impeached. Dan Snierson, EW.com, "Veep finale: See deleted scene with Jonah as VP," 11 Sep. 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

Time Traveler

The first known use of feckless was circa 1585

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Last Updated

16 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Feckless.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feckless. Accessed 8 Aug. 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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