Definition of ne'er-do-well in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈnɛːduːwɛl/


A person who is lazy and irresponsible: a bit of a ne’er-do-well whose only interests seemed to be cards and boozing
More example sentences
  • This latter activity comes courtesy of a controversial religious camp for rascally teen ne'er-do-wells.
  • As ever with this kind of thing, there was no word from the man himself, as he's a bit busy saving the western world from ne'er-do-wells.
  • He has to wait until his Rage meter is built up before he can unsheathe his mighty weapon and hack vampires and other ne'er-do-wells to bits.


Lazy and irresponsible: his ne’er-do-well father walked out before he was born
More example sentences
  • And if their characters are not fixed, why the sudden reversion to type (when Terry smashes up his situation by introducing Sammy's son to his ne'er-do-well father)?
  • With her curiously-named, camera-toting sidekick Rolf, Jemma takes you through a daily video diary for an eventful two weeks of quantum-transported best mates and ne'er-do-well lab technicians.
  • Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film and Best Original Song, it's about a ragtag gang of ne'er-do-well schoolboys who gain self-respect under the wing of a kindly choirmaster.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ne'er-do-well

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.