reckless » wreckless

Chiefly in:   wreckless driving, wreckless driver

Classification: English – questionable

Spotted in the wild:

  • “I was charged with wreckless driving on 9/28/05. I was traveling down Rte 202 in NH. … My question…is this a legitimate wreckless driving charge?” (link)
  • “im not bragging about being a wreckless driver, i know i drive wrecklessly.” (link)
  • “I got a ticket for speeding in a school zone also. It was actually one mile under wreckless driving.” (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • "scarequotes", on Eggcorn Forum, 8 November 2005 (link)
  • Paul Brians (link)

Back in 2005, “scarequotes” noted: “Wreckless driving” pulls up 24,500 Google hits, though some of these are obviously wordplay (“wreckless driving” referring to futuristic cars that won’t crash). “Wreckless driver” pulls up 1760.

You can also find a fair number of cites for “wreckless abandon”, but an awful lot of them look like wordplay.

As Laura Staum Casasanto noted when she sent me the third example above, there’s a problem with the meaning: understood literally, “wreckless” is almost the opposite of “reckless”. So this might just be a “demi-eggcorn” reshaping, in which the unfamiliar element reck (historically related to reckon) is re-spelled as a familiar element, wreck, without significantly improving the meaning. There is that connection between driving and wrecks, though.

| link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2007/10/21 |

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