Definition of feckless in English:



  • Lacking initiative or strength of character; irresponsible.

    ‘her feckless younger brother’
    • ‘But only the most blinkered soul could fail to see that the football team were as inexperienced as they were feckless, as bereft of defensive qualities as they were deficient technically.’
    • ‘In one of those stupidities that mark a life of bad choices, a quite verbal, witty, but somewhat feckless woman became my business partner.’
    • ‘Maybe their feckless mothers waste money smoking and drinking?’
    • ‘To prove his point, the editor, a young, feckless fellow, asked me to write an upbeat, optimistic birthday column, saying how things had improved in the dale this past decade.’
    • ‘All it did was make life easier for the lazy and feckless middle-class students, who were one of the products of the 1960s.’
    • ‘The company's line was that it was putting on a music show and doing everything reasonable, and a bit more, to protect feckless people from themselves.’
    • ‘So, not only are the students feckless, lazy, promiscuous and drunk, they're also liars.’
    • ‘Whatever happened to the traditional, feckless student?’
    • ‘Giving complete novices the responsibility for reviving a feckless football team would, in itself, be irresponsible.’
    • ‘Britain's 11 million pensioners punch above their weight because - unlike the feckless young - they still retain the habit of voting, and many of them vote Tory.’
    • ‘Many were running away from hostile or feckless parents - unloving stepmothers and drunken fathers feature in several reminiscences - or from the prospect of onshore unemployment.’
    • ‘They are like wives midway through marriage therapy designed to reconcile and foster a new beginning with a feckless husband who has perpetually let them down.’
    • ‘So the older brother became a rather feckless Oxford undergraduate just about to begin his own career.’
    • ‘His feckless mother left him with her family in Denbighshire when he was still an infant, and his uncles paid a couple to care for him until he was six years old.’
    • ‘For a younger more feckless child this kind of behaviour might be acceptable, but he was too old to be still in his pyjamas in the street.’
    • ‘Yet still the broadcasting companies swallowed the government line, and there was a sudden demand for a different sort of political programme, one that would engage the feckless viewer - and especially the young feckless viewer.’
    • ‘At 21, Caroline took up with a feckless playboy 17 years her senior.’
    • ‘She may be a feckless and incompetent parent, but that is no reason for her not being treated properly.’
    • ‘Aidan Gillen is completely convincing as Frank, a set designer for television who is trying to negotiate the transition from feckless student existence to adult responsibility, complete with mortgage and steady girlfriend.’
    useless, worthless, incompetent, inefficient, inept, good-for-nothing, ne'er-do-well
    lazy, idle, slothful, indolent, shiftless, spiritless, apathetic, aimless, unambitious, unenterprising
    no-good, no-account, lousy
    View synonyms


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