an idle, worthless person; a person who is ineffectual, unsuccessful, or completely lacking in merit; good-for-nothing.
worthless; ineffectual; good-for-nothing.
Origin of ne'er-do-well
First recorded in 1730–40
Synonyms for ne'er-do-well
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
an improvident, irresponsible, or lazy person
useless; worthlessyour ne'er-do-well schemes
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
"one who is good for nothing," 1737, Scottish and northern English dialect, from contraction of phrase never do well. The adjective is first recorded 1773.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper