reckless (adj.)

Middle English recheles, from Old English receleas "careless, thoughtless, heedless," earlier reccileas, literally "not recking (of consequences)" from *rece, recce "care, heed," from reccan "to care" (see reck (v.)) + -less. The same affixed form is in German ruchlos, Dutch roekeloos "wicked."

The root verb reck (Old English reccan) is passing into obscurity; the range of Middle English spellings might reflect uncertainty even then about it, e.g. rechiles, retcheles, recelease, richeles, regeles, reccles, rakeles

updated on May 19, 2021