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 formsfeck·less·ly, adverbfeck·less·ness, noun
Can be confusedfeckless reckless
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for feckless

Contemporary Examples of feckless

Historical Examples of feckless

  • "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.


    Robert Louis Stevenson

  • My love is so feckless, that it is a shame to offer it to Him!

  • Madam, let others take their silly, feckless heaven in this life.

British Dictionary definitions for feckless



feeble; weak; ineffectual; irresponsible
Derived Formsfecklessly, adverbfecklessness, noun

Word Origin for feckless

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

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