Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for January 2, 2021 is:
feckless FECK-lus adjective
“Many years ago, in my feckless youth, I took a 20-hour Greyhound bus trip across the Midwest to Boston.” — Phil Clapham, The Vashon-Maury Island (Washington) Beachcomber, 23 Nov. 2020
“The story of Tom Cruise’s feckless young test pilot, Top Gun was that rare sort of high-octane action movie that despite its flashy, fast-paced theatrics managed to resonate deeply with audiences in the mid-80s.” — Cathal Gunning, Screen Rant, 22 Nov. 2020
Did you know?
Someone feckless is lacking in feck. And what, you may ask, is feck? In Scots—our source of feckless—feck means “majority” or “effect.” The term is ultimately an alteration of the Middle English effect. So something without feck is without effect, or ineffective. In the past, feckful (meaning “efficient, effective,” “sturdy,” or “powerful”) made an occasional appearance. But in this case, the weak has outlived the strong: feckless is a commonly used English word, but feckful has fallen out of use.