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  1. utterly unconcerned about the consequences of some action; without caution; careless (usually followed by of): to be reckless of danger.
  2. characterized by or proceeding from such carelessness: reckless extravagance.

Origin of reckless

before 900; Middle English rekles, Old English reccelēas careless (cognate with German ruchlos); see reck, -less
Related formsreck·less·ly, adverbreck·less·ness, noun
Can be confusedfeckless reckless


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1. rash, heedless, incautious, negligent, imprudent.


1. careful.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for reckless

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • You have been of the reckless deportment—you may still be of it.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • You shall be reckless as you like—but without your stored energy surplus to harm you.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Sidney was thoroughly angry by this time, angry and reckless.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • He gave the wheel a reckless twist, and Le Moyne called him to time sternly.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • "No, no; thank you," gasped the boy, aghast at the reckless audacity of the proposal.

British Dictionary definitions for reckless


  1. having or showing no regard for danger or consequences; heedless; rasha reckless driver; a reckless attempt
Derived Formsrecklessly, adverbrecklessness, noun

Word Origin

Old English recceleās (see reck, -less); related to Middle Dutch roekeloos, Old High German ruahhalōs
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

Word Origin and History for reckless


Old English receleas "careless, thoughtless, heedless," earlier reccileas, from *rece, recce "care, heed," from reccan "to care" (see reck (v.)) + -less. The same affixed form is in German ruchlos, Dutch roekeloos "wicked." Root verb reck (Old English reccan) is passing into obscurity.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper