Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have come across the following sentence:

The quickness of her ascent, and the fact that she revamped each orchestra’s administration before suddenly moving on, has led some in music business circles to charge her with wreckless careerism.
Source

After having considered that The New York Times, as far as I know, does not use slang words in its written texts, I wonder what wreckless careerism means. My problem is that wreckless gets no support from any dictionary I have consulted, but this Ngram shows that this word exists, so it seems difficult to rule out the case as a mere typo.

enter image description here

share|improve this question
3  
Wreckless is just a typo, albeit common, for reckless. –  Mark Beadles Aug 3 '12 at 19:16
    
OneLook is a good resource for checking many dictionaries and other references: onelook.com/?w=wreckless&ls=a –  MετάEd Sep 27 '12 at 19:21
add comment

closed as general reference by Mark Beadles, simchona, jwpat7, tchrist, Robusto Aug 10 '12 at 14:51

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2 Answers

Perhaps, but those numbers on the y axis are sooo small...

I, like you I'm guessing, believe they are using "wreckless" to mean the same as "reckless". So let's assume that is the case, and compare their use.

enter image description here

If you compare the y axis numbers here, you'll see the significance is roughly 1,000 times greater here than in your graph.

The NYT is rather famous (notorious) for having linguistic dicta mandating their staff hang onto obsolete words, usages, and rules long past the time that the rest of the continent has left them by. If I had to take a guess, I'd say "wreckless" is one of those.

Or it could just be a spellcheck/typo that got left in because technically that is an alternate spelling for "reckless".

If you write them, you may get an answer as to which it is.

share|improve this answer
    
+1 for Or it could just be a spellcheck/typo that got left in because technically that is an alternate spelling for "reckless". A very few English words may be spelled with either r or wr. –  user19148 Aug 3 '12 at 19:30
1  
Wreckless is not “old-style” for reckless. It is erroneous for the same. –  tchrist Aug 3 '12 at 19:32
1  
@tchrist - Not an expert on this particular word, but the entry in your answer has both "erron." (erroneous) and "obs." (obsolete) in it. My interpretation of that would be that they are saying it used to be considered correct, but no longer. –  T.E.D. Aug 3 '12 at 19:38
2  
@T.E.D. It -could- mean 'without wrecks' but it doesn't. Its a plane outwrite mispelling. –  Mitch Aug 3 '12 at 20:06
1  
@Mitch. Great turn of the sentence, choosing those misspelt terms... –  Paola Aug 3 '12 at 21:01
show 3 more comments

You need to use a better dictionary, as the OED entry for wreckless plainly reads:

wreckless, obs. erron. f. reckless a.

share|improve this answer
    
... or even Wiktionary. –  coleopterist Aug 3 '12 at 19:23
add comment