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 willfully (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

But if plaintiffs can show there was willful or wanton misconduct or reckless disregard for passenger safety, that could warrant compensation. Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz Africa, "The Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max crash could warrant historic punitive damages against Boeing," 2 July 2019 There had to be a willful violation of civil rights. James Brown, CBS News, "Defending DJ: Was the fatal shooting of a Pace University football player justified?," 22 June 2019 Moreover, the cat’s independence suggested a willful rebellion against the teaching of the Bible, which said that Adam had dominion over all the animals. Amanda Foreman, WSJ, "The Dark Lore of Black Cats," 18 Oct. 2018 One charge of assault and another of willful damage to property were dropped after the accuser failed to show up to testify on multiple occasions (and video footage contradicted the charge). Batya Ungar-sargon, The New York Review of Books, "A Palestinian in Israeli Military Court: Issa Amro, the Judge, & Me," 17 June 2019 But his biggest sin is the total disregard and willful ignorance of wife Marlo's (Charlize Theron) mental health and postpartum psychosis. Maia Efrem, refinery29.com, "The Movies That Get Fatherhood All Wrong — & The Ones That Get It Right," 15 June 2019 The former Republican House Speakers know all about willful backbenchers, and Democratic Reps. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Speaker Ocasio-Cortez," 6 Mar. 2019 The political question is whether this is all for show, or are Democrats willful enough to use Senate rules to block the nomination from proceeding to a vote? The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Kavanaugh Histrionics," 4 Sep. 2018 Through ignorance, willful or otherwise, the message missed is that players were protesting racial inequality in the United States. Steve Rosenbloom, chicagotribune.com, "NFL owners got played for suckers by Donald Trump, and they did it to themselves," 5 June 2018

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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Statistics for willful

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for willful

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

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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 wilful (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

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More from Merriam-Webster on willful

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with willful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for willful

Spanish Central: Translation of willful

Nglish: Translation of willful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of willful for Arabic Speakers

Comments on willful

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