I am looking for a single word to describe someone who does not care about their responsibilities.

Logically, the word "irresponsible" should work here, but dictionaries say that an irresponsible person is someone who doesn't think enough or worry about the possible results of what you do.

1- Then I wonder what is the single word for a husband who does not care about his family (wife and children)? Such a man does not take charge of his family expenses and the way his children grow and the way his wife makes ends meet.

2- The same goes for a woman who does not care about the way her children grow, what they eat, their education, etc.

3- Or please assume a colleague who does not care about their tasks and duties at work and most of the time overlooks his/her responsibilities.

Does the word "irresponsible" applicable for all cases above?

4- Also, I need to know the single word to describe someone who when accepts a responsibility, cares a lot about it and does his/her best in order to fulfill or accomplish it? (The exact opposite for all the cases above.)

  • 1
    For 1, 2, and 3, the word irresponsible is appropriate.
    – shin
    Commented Aug 8, 2019 at 7:23

2 Answers 2


"Irresponsible" does have some duality of meaning in that it can describe someone who willfully ignores their responsibilities, but also someone who does not take their responsibilities seriously.

Alternatively, someone who is aware of their responsibilities and deliberately evades them is said to be "shirking" their responsibilities, and can be termed "a shirker".

  1. A husband who does not care for his family properly may be described as neglectful. Some cultures consider it somewhat old-fashioned to place all responsibility for the family on a husband, however, I understand in others it is still the case. In western law the term "willful nonsupport" is used to describe a situation in which a partner (often a husband) deliberately neglects to support the other financially, and this is sometimes cited as a reason for divorce or separation.

  2. Again, many cultures now view a husband/wife or a father/mother as having an equal share of the same responsibilities, so a woman could also be termed "irresponsible" or "neglectful" either of family or parental responsibilities. When it comes to parenting, the terms "neglect" and "neglectful" are often used legally to describe the shirking of responsibilities to one's own children.

  3. "Irresponsible" is probably the most appropriate word for a situation involving a work colleague. The word is also suitable for any of the above.

  4. The antonym of irresponsible could be either dedicated, committed, trustworthy, depending on what quality you want to convey.

  • Thank you @Astralbee, so do you mean that aside from "neglectful", the word "irresponsible" works for #1-2 and #3 appropriately?
    – A-friend
    Commented Aug 7, 2019 at 14:09

To me, it implies a lack of thought rather than a lack of care. Although I agree it can be used for both, it feels like you are looking for something which strongly implies they don't care.

I might suggest the phrase:

Couldn't care less about they're responsibilities.

This phrase really heavily carries a hugely negative and disapproving meaning.

4- Although all of the suggested words by Astralbee are great words, just be careful as non of them specifically mean responsible. Dependable would be my suggestion, as a dependable person is one that you can give responsibility to with confidence.

  • Thank you @Bee, but I do not follow you regarding #1-2-3. I wonder what adjective is used in those senses?
    – A-friend
    Commented Aug 7, 2019 at 14:05
  • I wasn't clear. I don't think there is one adjective which sufficiently conveys the meaning you are looking for. Shirker is OK but not very common in the UK in my experience. Neglect doesn't necessitate intention.
    – Gamora
    Commented Aug 7, 2019 at 14:16
  • I think based on what you and Astralbee mentioned, the best choices would be: "irresponsible" and "dependable". Do you confirm?
    – A-friend
    Commented Aug 7, 2019 at 14:19
  • I don't think irresponsible necessitate intention, which is what I thought you were trying to say
    – Gamora
    Commented Aug 7, 2019 at 14:36
  • So what shall I use for the first three cases @Bee. I really don't understand. 🤔
    – A-friend
    Commented Aug 7, 2019 at 14:57

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