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[rek-lis] /ˈrɛk lɪs/
utterly unconcerned about the consequences of some action; without caution; careless (usually followed by of):
to be reckless of danger.
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 forms
recklessly, adverb
recklessness, noun
Can be confused
feckless, reckless.
1. rash, heedless, incautious, negligent, imprudent.
1. careful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for recklessly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The people are much too nice to slangander as recklessly as I have been doing.

    American Notes Rudyard Kipling
  • "Oh, nothing hurts you if you like it," said Betty recklessly.

  • The hole had been recklessly filled to the brim, and was merely sprinkled with earth.

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • And the love was all for this man, so recklessly desirous of her happiness.

    The Law-Breakers Ridgwell Cullum
  • He was satiated with cake and tea and compliments that evening and recklessly truthful.

    The Portygee Joseph Crosby Lincoln
British Dictionary definitions for recklessly


having or showing no regard for danger or consequences; heedless; rash: a reckless driver, a reckless attempt
Derived Forms
recklessly, adverb
recklessness, 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
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Word Origin and History for recklessly

Old English recceleaslice; see reckless + -ly (2).



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
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