Are You Feeling “Wreckless” Or “Reckless”?

dark blue text 'wreckless or reckless' on light blue backdrop

It’s common for the words reckless and wreck to be used in the same context, like in this sentence, for example: Many car wrecks are caused by reckless driving. But is wreckless a word?

In this article, we’ll get to the bottom of the confusion between reckless and wreckless, including which one is used in common phrases—like those ending in driving and abandon.

Quick summary

Reckless is an adjective meaning “careless” that’s used in phrases like reckless driving and reckless abandon. Wreckless is usually considered a misspelling of reckless when it’s used to mean the same thing. It’s possible for wreckless to be used to mean “without wrecks,” but this is very rare.

reckless vs. wreckless

The adjective reckless means “completely unconcerned about the consequences of one’s actions.” It typically means the same thing as careless, but often in a way that’s also dangerous or potentially destructive.

When wreckless is used in the same way as reckless, it’s usually considered a misspelling. Most dictionaries (including this one) do not list wreckless as an alternative spelling for reckless.

But you can see why some people may be tempted to spell it this way—due to the strong association between being reckless and wrecking things.

In fact, reckless is based on the (now rarely used) verb reck, which means “to have care or concern about something.” This reck is unrelated to the word wreck.

It’s possible that someone might use wreckless to describe something as being “without wrecks,” but this is not at all common. Such a use would also be potentially very confusing due to the established use of reckless, including in some common phrases like reckless endangerment and others.

Go Behind The Words!

Get the fascinating stories of your favorite words in your inbox.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Is it wreckless driving or reckless driving?

The name of the traffic violation is reckless driving. It refers to driving characterized by a lack of concern for one’s own safety or the safety of others—careless driving that could harm someone.

In this context, wreckless driving would mean just about the opposite of reckless driving—because reckless driving often results in wrecks (car crashes).

Is it wreckless abandon or reckless abandon?

The phrase is reckless abandon. In the term, abandon means “a lack of restraint or moderation” and reckless means “careless” or “characterized by carelessness.” Reckless emphasizes the complete lack of concern for what will happen.

Is it "nerve-wracking” or “nerve-racking”? Read about the correct terms here.

Previous Helpful Tips For How To Spell Numbers—No Math Required! Next "Denotation" vs. "Connotation": What's The Difference?