Share this entry

feckless Syllabification: feck·less
Pronunciation: /ˈfekləs/

Definition of feckless in English:


Lacking initiative or strength of character; irresponsible: a feckless mama’s boy an unfortunate example of feckless filmmaking the feckless exploitation of the world’s natural resources
More example sentences
  • But when we actually get on TV, we are relatively feckless and ineffective.
  • I don't think it's because Glasgow people are particularly feckless.
  • Their shared affection for the warmhearted, feckless Martin is a further bond between them.
useless, worthless, incompetent, inept, good-for-nothing, ne'er-do-well;
lazy, idle, slothful, indolent, irresponsible, shiftless
informal no-good, no-account


Late 16th century: from Scots and northern English dialect feck (from effeck, variant of effect) + -less.

  • effect from Late Middle English:

    Effect ‘result, consequence’ from Latin effectus, from efficere ‘accomplish, work out’, formed from ex- ‘out, thoroughly’ and facere ‘do’. Its negative is defect (Late Middle English), while deficit (late 18th century) is from Latin deficit ‘it is lacking’, from the verb deficere. The Latin word was used formerly in inventories to record what was missing. Feckless (late 16th century) ‘lacking in efficiency or vitality’ is based on Scots and northern English dialect feck, a shortening of effeck, a variant of effect.



Example sentences
  • Therefore, we need men and women in both parties who understand its gravity and who, whatever they think of the tactics or the domestic agendas of their rivals, will not fecklessly cut and run if they reach the White House.
  • Jenkins then goes on to discredit younger consumers as fecklessly fickle.
  • The major common factor with people who make resolutions is that the vast majority break them within hours or days of making them, yet will fecklessly resolve again in similar fashion the same time next year.


Pronunciation: /ˈfekləsnəs/
Example sentences
  • To the extent that I thought about it at all - and no-one should underestimate the capacity for fecklessness of the 18-year old - I'd more or less accepted that if I got drafted, I'd go along.
  • He said: ‘The accusations from the finance world are often that a bad debt is a result of fecklessness on the part of the borrower.’
  • Then they call their opponents nasty names, cut dirty deals, and violate constitutional rules all to escape the mess they themselves created by their own weird combination of vanity and fecklessness.

Definition of feckless in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day fortissimo
Pronunciation: fɔːˈtɪsɪməʊ
(especially as a direction) very loud or loudly