Printable Version
Pronunciation: rek Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, Verb

Meaning: 1. (Noun) Care, heed. 2. (Verb) To care (about), to heed, to be concerned (about).

Notes: Be careful not to write a W at the beginning of this word. 'She recked her car' means she cared about her car; 'She wrecked her car' means something quite different. Of course, the confusion of these two words probably resulted in the disuse of reck today. It is found only in reckless in the usual English vocabulary. There is no reckful, although it does seem logical; we are allowed heedful.

In Play: We all have had call for an expression which implies less recklessness than reckless. Here it is: "Fairleigh Lowe took little reck of the effect of his actions on Blanche Dwight." It can be used as a near synonym of reckon: "After the argument with Fairleigh, Blanche left the house and wandered about for hours, recking little on where she was going."

Word History: The root of reck comes from PIE reg- "direct straight, lead, rule", which arrived in English also as right and reckon, first cousin of reck. We discussed this PIE root in connection with the Good Word resurge. Its form and meaning have spread widely in the past 7-8000 years. We see it in regal, referring to a ruler; in fact, ruler itself is a reduction of Latin regula "a straight stick". Of course, English borrowed regular from the adjective to this word, regularis. An authentic English word that derives from this root is rice "powerful". French borrowed this word and turned it into riche "rich", which English borrowed back as rich. (Now we must reck to thank David Green for asking the question, 'Is there a reckful?', the search for which led to today's very Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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