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[fek-lis] /ˈfɛk lɪs/
ineffective; incompetent; futile:
feckless attempts to repair the plumbing.
having no sense of responsibility; indifferent; lazy.
Origin of feckless
1590-1600; orig. Scots, equivalent to feck, late Middle English (Scots) fek, aphetic form of effeck (Scots form of effect) + -less
Related forms
fecklessly, adverb
fecklessness, noun
Can be confused
feckless, reckless. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for feckless
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "It caps all—you niver heard sec feckless wark," she was saying.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine
  • As for that feckless loon Bombazo, the peer body is best in bed.'

  • If ye miss that, ye must be as feckless at the sailoring as I have found ye at the fighting.

    Kidnapped Robert Louis Stevenson
  • My love is so feckless, that it is a shame to offer it to Him!

    Letters of Samuel Rutherford Samuel Rutherford
  • Madam, let others take their silly, feckless heaven in this life.

    Letters of Samuel Rutherford Samuel Rutherford
British Dictionary definitions for feckless


feeble; weak; ineffectual; irresponsible
Derived Forms
fecklessly, adverb
fecklessness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from obsolete feck value, effect + -less
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for feckless

1590s, from feck, "effect, value, vigor" (late 15c.), Scottish shortened form of effect, + -less. Popularized by Carlyle, who left its opposite, feckful, in dialectal obscurity. Related: Fecklessly; fecklessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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