ne'er-do-well

[nair-doo-wel]

noun

an idle, worthless person; a person who is ineffectual, unsuccessful, or completely lacking in merit; good-for-nothing.

adjective

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

Related Words for ne'er-do-well

loafer, incompetent, idler, loser, wastrel, shiftless, worthless

British Dictionary definitions for ne'er-do-well

ne'er-do-well

noun

an improvident, irresponsible, or lazy person

adjective

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

Word Origin and History for ne'er-do-well
n.

"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