In a word: feckless

The Baltimore Sun

Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a relatively obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar, another brick to add to the wall of your vocabulary. This week's word: 


You would imagine, just looking at the word feckless, that it means lacking in feck. 

You would be right.

Feck, a Scots word originally meaning "effect," "majority," "efficacy," or "value," is related to the Middle English effect. It came to mean "vigor" or "energy." To be feckless (pronounced FEK-less) is to be weak or ineffective, worthless or irresponsible. 

Example: From Esquire, "Ryan Seacrest: Lord of Hosts," December 2009: "From February through May, two or three nights per week -- depending on how many feckless, talent-free wannabes remain -- he hosts American Idol, a sewer of innocent depravity that draws thirty million TV viewers per night. "

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