willful

adjective
will·​ful | \ ˈwil-fəl How to pronounce willful (audio) \
variants: or wilful

Definition of willful

1 : obstinately and often perversely self-willed a stubborn and willful child
2 : done deliberately : intentional willful disobedience

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Other Words from willful

willfully \ ˈwil-​fə-​lē How to pronounce willful (audio) \ adverb
willfulness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for willful

unruly, ungovernable, intractable, refractory, recalcitrant, willful, headstrong mean not submissive to government or control. unruly implies lack of discipline or incapacity for discipline and often connotes waywardness or turbulence of behavior. unruly children ungovernable implies either an escape from control or guidance or a state of being unsubdued and incapable of controlling oneself or being controlled by others. ungovernable rage intractable suggests stubborn resistance to guidance or control. intractable opponents of the hazardous-waste dump refractory stresses resistance to attempts to manage or to mold. special schools for refractory children recalcitrant suggests determined resistance to or defiance of authority. acts of sabotage by a recalcitrant populace willful implies an obstinate determination to have one's own way. a willful disregard for the rights of others headstrong suggests self-will impatient of restraint, advice, or suggestion. a headstrong young cavalry officer

Examples of willful in a Sentence

a stubborn and willful child He has shown a willful disregard for other people's feelings.
Recent Examples on the Web The Cornell family sued Koblin for negligence, failure to obtain informed consent and willful misconduct. Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone, "Chris Cornell’s Family Settles With Doctor Who Prescribed Singer Drugs," 6 May 2021 Freddie Douglas, a supervisor who arrived on the scene after a call for backup, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and willful neglect of duty. Cnn Editorial Research, CNN, "Controversial Police Encounters Fast Facts," 20 Apr. 2021 If Ducey signs it, plaintiffs in liability lawsuits involving COVID-19 infections would have to prove the business was guilty of gross negligence or willful misconduct instead of only negligence. Cole Lauterbach, Washington Examiner, "Arizona Legislature sends Ducey COVID-19 lawsuit protections," 1 Apr. 2021 Other officials are facing charges that include involuntary manslaughter and willful neglect of duty. Ashlee Banks, Essence, "Judge Denies Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s Request to Have Flint Water Crisis Charges Dropped," 19 Mar. 2021 Last week, Snyder's legal team argued that the court had no choice but to dismiss the two misdemeanor charges against Snyder for willful neglect of duty because they were brought in the wrong court. Joe Guillen, Detroit Free Press, "Judge won't dismiss Flint water charges against former Gov. Rick Snyder," 18 Mar. 2021 If the former Republican governor goes to trial, a jury will be asked to determine if charges of willful neglect of duty occurred in the boundaries of Flint and Genesee County, Crawford said. Ed White, chicagotribune.com, "Michigan ex-governor Snyder loses challenge to Flint water charge," 18 Mar. 2021 For the Confederate Battle Flag — a symbol of Southern sedition in the Civil War, and an emblem of bondage — its second act as gift-shop tchotchke represents willful ignorance at best. BostonGlobe.com, "Artist Sonya Clark weaves a corrective to the story of the Confederacy," 21 Apr. 2021 Now he is guaranteed that the final weeks of the campaign will see the pandemic front and center, along with his willful dismissal of it. Dan Balz, Anchorage Daily News, "A pandemic, a crushed economy, racial protests and now a president with coronavirus," 4 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'willful.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of willful

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for willful

Time Traveler

The first known use of willful was in the 13th century

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Statistics for willful

Last Updated

13 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Willful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/willful. Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for willful

willful

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of willful

disapproving
: refusing to change your ideas or opinions or to stop doing something
: done deliberately

willful

adjective
will·​ful
variants: or wilful \ ˈwil-​fəl \

Kids Definition of willful

1 : stubborn sense 1 willful children
2 : intentional willful disobedience

Other Words from willful

willfully \ -​fə-​lē \ adverb
willfulness noun

willful

adjective
will·​ful
variants: or wilful \ ˈwil-​fəl How to pronounce willful (audio) \

Legal Definition of willful

: not accidental : done deliberately or knowingly and often in conscious violation or disregard of the law, duty, or the rights of others willful injury

Other Words from willful

willfully adverb
willfulness noun

Comments on willful

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