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See more synonyms for reckless on Thesaurus.com
  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.
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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


See more synonyms for reckless on Thesaurus.com
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 recklessness

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • But even that gibe hinted at a recklessness that matched her own and gave her comfort now.

    Louisiana Lou

    William West Winter

  • Surely you, of all people, should not excuse their recklessness.

    Fair Harbor

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • Your being afloat in Denboro Bay in a canoe was your own recklessness and not my fault.

    The Rise of Roscoe Paine

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • That recklessness it was that caused me to shrug my shoulders with a laugh.

    The Suitors of Yvonne

    Raphael Sabatini

  • I made no answer: half in recklessness, half in pride, I was silent.

    Sir Jasper Carew

    Charles James Lever

British Dictionary definitions for recklessness


  1. having or showing no regard for danger or consequences; heedless; rasha reckless driver; a reckless attempt
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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 recklessness


Old English recceleasnes "recklessness, carelessness, negligence;" see reckless + -ness.

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper