If a newspaper editorial describes a politician as feckless, you might wonder, "What is feck, and why doesn’t he have any?” In fact, the columnist is accusing the politician of being irresponsible and incompetent.

Did you know that most varieties of English are in fact “feck”-less? They don’t contain a word feck, only the negative counterpart feckless. The “feck” in feckless began as a short form of effect used in the Scots dialect. So feckless essentially means "ineffective," but is also used to describe someone who is irresponsible, incompetent, inept, or without purpose in life.

Definitions of feckless
  1. adjective
    generally incompetent and ineffectual
    feckless attempts to repair the plumbing”
    synonyms: inept
    not qualified or suited for a purpose
  2. adjective
    not fit to assume responsibility
    showing lack of care for consequences
Commonly confused words

"Feckless Weakling" is Last Night's Republican Debate Stand-Out Phrase

Calling President Barack Obama's foreign policy feckless in last night's debate, Governor Chris Christie invoked what has become a Republican mini-meme.

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