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Definition of "ne'er-do-well" [ne'er•-do-well]

  • An idle, irresponsible person. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "ne'er-do-well" in a sentence
  • "In some ways his performance in The Kids Are All Right is a sequel of sorts to the role that first brought him to Hollywood's attention, as Laura Linney's ne'er-do-well brother in the 2000 indie hit You Can Count On Me."
  • "Researchers gave 105 students at the University of British Columbia a description of a generic ne'er-do-well—for example, he finds a wallet on the street, takes the cash and tosses the wallet."
  • "If securities regulators across the nation work together more effectively, Mr. Borg adds, they could reverse the traditional calculation by ne'er-do-well securities firms and brokers that "the reward has always outweighed the risk, even on bad products.""