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ne'er-do-well ‎(plural ne'er-do-wells)

  1. A person without a means of support; an idle, worthless person; a loafer; a person who is ineffectual, unsuccessful, or completely lacking in merit; a good-for-nothing.
    • 1933, The Commonweal (volume 19, page 241)
      So they have trooped forth to organize village down-and-outs and ne'er-do-wells into would-be combat units.
    • 2012, Christoper Zara, Tortured Artists: From Picasso and Monroe to Warhol and Winehouse, the Twisted Secrets of the World's Most Creative Minds, part 1, chapter 1, 26:
      Clara's father, a trollish ne'er-do-well who spent most of his time in brothels and saloons, would disappear for days and weeks at a stretch, leaving Clara and her mother to fend for themselves.
  2. A person who is up to no good; a rogue.



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