The Meaning of Feckless: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of feckless? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word feckless, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word feckless mean?

According to Merriam-Webster, Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word feckless is an adjective that means weak, ineffective, worthless, or irresponsible. This word comes from an alteration of effect in the Scots feck, a UK term from the Northern English dialect feck. If something is done fecklessly, it is not done in a meaningful way or with vigor or courage. People in politics often lob insults at politicians for being feckless. For example, political talk show host Samantha Bee criticized Ivanka Trump for being feckless in the White House and gained public attention.The word feckless is try syllables – feck-less, and the pronunciation of feckless is ˈfek-ləs. Related words include the noun feck, the adverb fecklessly, and the noun fecklessness.

There are many different languages that also contain words that mean feckless. You may notice that some of these translations of feckless look or sound similar to one another. These are called cognates, which are words and phrases in different languages that have the same meaning and also look and sound similar. These are formed when two words have the same root or language of origin. This list of translations for the word feckless is provided by Word Sense

  •  Norwegian: hjelpeløs‎, initiativløs‎
  •  Bulgarian: безцелен‎, напразен‎
  •  French: irréfléchi‎, irresponsable‎
  •  Swedish: hjälplös‎, rådlös‎
  •  Dutch: doelloos‎
  •  Danish: hjælpeløs‎, initiativløs‎
  •  Russian: бесце́льный‎, напра́сный‎
  •  German: nichtsnutzig‎, nutzlos‎, ziellos‎
  •  Greek: άσκοπος‎ (masc.)
  •  Galician: inútil‎
  •  Icelandic: gagnslaus‎
  •  Czech: zbytečný‎ (masc.), k ničemu‎
  •  Hawaiian: waiwai ʻole‎, makehewa‎
  •  Finnish: hyödytön‎, tarpeeton‎, turha‎; kelvoton‎, käyttökelvoton‎
  •  Basque: baliogabe‎, ezgai‎, hutsal‎
  •  Cantonese: 冇用‎ (mou5 jung6)
  •  Romanian: inutil‎ (masc.) (n), netrebuincios‎ (masc.) (n), nefolositor‎ (masc.) (n)
  •  Spanish: inútil‎ (masc.) (fem.)
  •  Indonesian: tidak berguna‎
  •  Latin: inutilis‎
  •  Georgian: უსარგებლო‎
  •  Italian: inutile‎ (masc.) (fem.)
  •  Estonian: tarbetu‎
  •  Portuguese: inútil‎, imprestável‎
  •  Irish: gan mhaith‎
  •  Urdu: بیکار‎ (bekār)
  •  Japanese: 無用‎
  •  Sorani: بێ سوود‎, بێ که‌ڵک‎
  •  Mandarin: 無用‎, 无用‎ (wúyòng)
  •  Catalan: inútil‎ (masc.) (fem.)
  •  Scottish Gaelic: gun fheum‎
  •  Hindi: बेकार‎ (bekār)
  •  Polish: niepotrzebny‎ (masc.), bezużyteczny‎ (masc.)
  •  Ido: neutila‎
  •  Interlingua: inusabile‎
  •  Slovak: zbytočný‎ (masc.), nanič‎, (vulg.) nahovno‎
  •  Malay: tak guna‎
  •  Asturian: inútil‎
  •  Hebrew: חֲסַר תוֹעֶלֶת‎ (ḥasar to’elet)
  •  Pashto: بې کاره‎ (masc.)
  •  Norman: innutile‎
  •  Pitjantjatjara: kura‎, uṉa‎

What are synonyms and antonyms of the word feckless?

There are many different words that one can use in place of the word feckless. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are very useful English grammatical devices to know because they can help you to avoid repeating yourself as well as to expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word feckless is provided by Thesaurus

  •  reckless
  •  carefree
  •  uncareful
  •  fustian
  •  useless
  •  hopeless
  •  shiftless
  •  incautious
  •  ineffective
  •  weak
  •  irresponsible
  •  careless
  •  good-for-nothing
  •  meaningless
  •  worthless
  •  futile
  •  ineffectual
  •  wild
  •  incompetent
  •  feeble
  •  aimless

There are also many different words that mean the opposite of the word feckless. These opposite words are called antonyms. Antonyms are also useful to know if you are trying to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms is also provided by Thesaurus

  •  single-minded
  •  be out for blood
  •  calculated
  •  intent
  •  feckful
  •  strong-willed
  •  fixed
  •  stalwart
  •  bound
  •  steady
  •  mean business
  •  bent
  •  telelogical
  •  resolute
  •  dead set on
  •  positive
  •  tenacious
  •  unwavering
  •  unfaltering
  •  obstinate
  •  intense
  •  staunch
  •  playing hard ball
  •  decided
  •  persistent
  •  firm
  •  deliberate
  •  purposeful
  •  steadfast
  •  purposive
  •  stubborn
  •  undeviating
  •  determined
  •  settled

How can the word feckless be used in a sentence?

The word feckless can be used in many different ways in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definitions. You can also make quizzes or flashcards for yourself to test your knowledge of different definitions. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Below are several examples of feckless to get you started.

The feckless plumbing did nothing to repair the infertile desert under the pitiless glare of the merciless sun. The crops were still dried out, and the farm had no hope of reopening for the fall season. Nothing would remain planted without shriveling up.

Social media proved to be a feckless way to waste time. With unlimited access to every different subscription and account under the sun, Mari became obsessed with Twitter. She wrote tweet after tweet and never got any of her schoolwork done. 

His feckless, inept handling of the account caused him to get fired from his register job at Princeton University. He was the worst worker they had even hired and no one quite knew how he got or kept the job for as long as he did.

The boy made a feckless attempt to complete his assignments, but his teacher saw right through his facade. It was evident that there was a lack of effort and motivation behind his work.

What is the origin of the word feckless?

According to Etymonline, the word feckless has been used since the 1590s Middle English and comes from the word feck, meaning effect or value. This late 15c word is the Scottish shortened form of effect. This was popularized by Carlyle who used the word feckful, the opposite of feckless. One can add the suffixes ly and ness to feckless to create the related words fecklessly (adv.) and fecklessness (n.)

Overall, the word feckless means incompetent or worthless. This word of dialectal obscurity is a variant of effect and is used less frequently by Americans than in the UK.


  1. Feckless | Meaning, Origin, Translation | Word Sense
  2. feckless | Origin and meaning of feckless | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  3. FECKLESS Synonyms: 29 Synonyms & Antonyms for FECKLESS | Thesaurus 
  4. PURPOSEFUL Synonyms: 39 Synonyms & Antonyms for PURPOSEFUL | Thesaurus 
  5. Feckless | Definition of Feckless | Merriam-Webster