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[rek-lis] /ˈrɛk lɪs/
utterly unconcerned about the consequences of some action; without caution; careless (usually followed by of):
to be reckless of danger.
characterized by or proceeding from such carelessness:
reckless extravagance.
Origin of reckless
before 900; Middle English rekles, Old English reccelēas careless (cognate with German ruchlos); see reck, -less
Related forms
recklessly, adverb
recklessness, noun
Can be confused
feckless, reckless.
1. rash, heedless, incautious, negligent, imprudent.
1. careful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for recklessly
  • The coins in my pocket jangled recklessly, ready to be laid out on the counter.
  • He recruited crews and shot away fortunes with the big guns-recklessly shouted the critics.
  • recklessly starving the world's fourth-largest lake to irrigate crops turned rich waters into a barren wasteland.
  • The hospitals themselves are to blame for recklessly endangering human lives without fully marginal efforts to stop it.
  • The normally social wasp withdraws from its colony, and starts to act recklessly.
  • People will drive recklessly until the number of deaths reaches the maximum they can tolerate.
  • Cutting spending recklessly would actually put more people in your situation, making the problem worse.
  • He doesn't seem to consider the long-term consequences of his group's actions and he recklessly puts human lives at risk.
  • Definitely enough to keep us speeding recklessly down the road to revenge.
  • Evidence was recklessly hidden, discarded, compromised-not so much in conspiracy as in anxiety.
British Dictionary definitions for recklessly


having or showing no regard for danger or consequences; heedless; rash: a reckless driver, a reckless attempt
Derived Forms
recklessly, adverb
recklessness, noun
Word Origin
Old English recceleās (see reck, -less); related to Middle Dutch roekeloos, Old High German ruahhalōs
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for recklessly

Old English recceleaslice; see reckless + -ly (2).



Old English receleas "careless, thoughtless, heedless," earlier reccileas, from *rece, recce "care, heed," from reccan "to care" (see reck (v.)) + -less. The same affixed form is in German ruchlos, Dutch roekeloos "wicked." Root verb reck (Old English reccan) is passing into obscurity.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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