Feckless

“I’d ask my daughter to watch the cats while we’re away, but she’s too feckless to be relied upon.”

As used above, what is the best definition of feckless?

Check your answer!

Choice A - Glutinous and greedy
Choice B - Messy or slovenly
Choice C - Enthusiastic or full of gusto
Choice D - Incompetent or lacking initiative

Definition:

Feckless (adjective) – ineffective or incompetent; lacking initiative; or, weak in character  

Fecklessness (noun) – the characteristic of ineffectiveness or weakness

GRE pro tips:

Attaching the suffix -less to a word denotes a lack of something—in the case of feckless, a lack of feck. But feck is certainly not a term you come across these days. It is likely a shortened form of the word “effect.” So, it makes sense that feckless refers to something that is effect-less. The term can be used to describe people, actions, or ideas. Feckless people can be both ineffective and incompetent but, beyond that, they lack initiative and drive. Similarly, feckless actions are ineffective and serve no purpose. And, when ideas (like political policies or philosophical stances) are feckless, they add nothing and make zero impact.  

Example sentences:

“Opponents of the administration pointed out the fecklessness of its foreign policy, accusing the president of posturing while affecting no real change.”

“Despite his fecklessness as an employee, his charm and charisma seem to keep him ever employed.”