F is for…


There are a lot of fabulously fun words that start with the letter F, making this post particularly challenging. In the end, I decided to include a bonus word, mostly because narrowing it down to just two was really tough!

I can’t hear my first word choice without getting The Clash song Rudie Can’t Fail stuck in my head, which makes this word a worthy choice in and of itself. However, it also happens to be a fun word to say, especially when you’re using it to describe a teenager.

Feckless (adjective)

Etymology:  First appears in the 1590s, derived from the Scottish word feck, meaning effect, vigor, efficiency. Feck is the Scottish shortened form of the word effect. Feckless was popularized by Scottish philosopher/writer Thomas Carlyle.

Definition:  Lacking initiative or strength of character; ineffective; irresponsible.

Example:  It didn’t take Moira long to figure out that her daughter’s boyfriend Alastair was lazy and feckless.


My second word choice is another fun one, though perhaps not so much for our Old English ancestors…

Fiend (noun)

Etymology:  From the Old English feond, meaning enemy or foe, which comes from the word feogan, meaning to hate, which comes from the Proto-Germanic fijæjan, meaning enemy, which probably comes from the Proto-Indo-European root pei-, meaning to blame or revile.

As you may have guessed, fiend’s original meaning was the opposite of friend, but in the 12th or 13th century it was used to describe Satan, thereby shifting its meaning. Fiend’s use to describe a devotee or an addict first appeared in the 1860s.

Definition:  An evil spirit or demon; a wicked or cruel person; also, a devotee or an addict.

Example:  It took Alastair a bit longer to realize that his girlfriend’s mother was a fiend in the truest sense of the word.


And now for the bonus word. I couldn’t let F slip by without including the following word. It might be a little somber, but it’s something I’ll wager most of us have had to participate in at some point in our lives.

Funeral (noun)

Etymology:  First appears in the mid-1400s. Comes from the Middle French funérailles, which comes from the Medieval Latin funeralia, both meaning funeral rites. Predated by the Late Latin funeralis, meaning relating to a funeral, which comes from the Latin word funus, meaning funeral, burial rites, death, corpse. May originate from the Proto-Indo-European root dheu-, meaning to die.

Definition:  A ceremony or service held shortly after a person’s death to mark their passing. Often includes the person’s burial or cremation.

 Example:  After Alastair’s funeral, Moira’s daughter refused to speak to her for a week.


Once again, etymological information and definitions come from the Oxford Dictionary of Etymological English, the Oxford Dictionaries Online and the Online Etymology Dictionary.


Image credit: Google Images

10 thoughts on “F is for…

  1. Love these words! I had no idea what Feckless meant but now I can use it.
    Your examples tell little stories. I quite enjoy that!

  2. I love etymology. I am reminded of the novel ‘the Surgeon of Crowthorne’ about the origins of the English Dictionary. I find it fascinating learning about the origins of words, especially their original meanings. Great post.

    1. Me too! And I will have to pick up that book. I’ve heard the stories about Minor, but have yet to read the book. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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