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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 recklessness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • By nature courageous, almost to recklessness, John learned these lessons unconsciously.

    Cattle-Ranch to College Russell Doubleday
  • But even that gibe hinted at a recklessness that matched her own and gave her comfort now.

    Louisiana Lou William West Winter
  • He would give up forever the longings of youth, that recklessness, that thirst for enjoying all the pleasures of life.

    Woman Triumphant Vicente Blasco Ibaez
  • Surely you, of all people, should not excuse their recklessness.

    Fair Harbor Joseph Crosby Lincoln
  • This recklessness was the result of his supposed triumphant crime.

    The International Spy Allen Upward
British Dictionary definitions for recklessness


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 recklessness

Old English recceleasnes "recklessness, carelessness, negligence;" see reckless + -ness.



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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