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See also: Reck and Réck


Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English recken, rekken, reken, from Old Norse rœkja (compare Old English rēċċan, rēċan (to care, reck, take care of, be interested in, care for, desire); whence English retch), from Proto-Germanic *rōkijaną (to care, take care), from Proto-Indo-European *rēǵ-, *rēg- (to care, help). Cognate with obsolete Dutch roeken, Low German roken, ruken (to reck, care), German geruhen (to deign, condescend), Icelandic rækja (to care, regard, discharge), Danish røgte (to care, tend), Swedish rykta (to groom).



reck (third-person singular simple present recks, present participle recking, simple past and past participle recked or (obsolete) rought, raught)

  1. (transitive, intransitive, intransitive, archaic) To take account of (someone or something); to care for; to consider, to heed, to regard.
    • c. 1599–1602 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene iii]:
      Do not, as some ungracious pastors do, / Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven, / Whiles, like a puffed and reckless libertine, / Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads, / And recks not his own rede.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book II”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC, line 50:
      [] with that care lost / went all his fear: of God, or hell, or worse / he recked not []
    • 1822, John E. Hall, editor, The Port Folio, volume XIV:
      Little thou reck'st of this sad store!
      Would thou might never reck them more!
    • 1835, William Gilmore Simms, The Partisan, Harper, Chapter XI, page 136:
      She recks not now, as of old, whether her word carries with it the sting or the sweet—it is not now in her thought to ask whether pain or pleasure follows the thoughtless slight or the scornful pleasantry. The victim suffers, but she recks not of his grief.
    • 1866, Emma Jane Worboise, “Mr. Armstrong’s Will”, in Sir Julian’s Wife, London: Virtue Brothers and Co., [], →OCLC, page 1:
      Little recked the busy multitude in that great smoky town of Blackingham of the solemn glories of the fading woods, with all their mellow brown and crimson foliage; little dreamed they of gorgeous sunsets, purple clouds, roseate mists, and lingering lovely-coloured lights in mountain passes; []
    • 1900, Ernest Dowson, Villanelle of Marguerite's, lines 10–11:
      She knows us not, nor recks if she enthrall
      With voice and eyes and fashion of her hair []
    • 1922 February, James Joyce, Ulysses, Paris: Shakespeare and Company, [], →OCLC:
      Little recked he perhaps for what she felt, that dull aching void in her heart sometimes, piercing to the core.
  2. (transitive, intransitive, archaic, dialectal) To concern (someone); to be important or earnest.
    Hit ne recketh! (= It recks not!)
  3. (intransitive, obsolete) To think.

Derived terms[edit]