willful

adjective
will·​ful | \ ˈwil-fəl \
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 \ 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

Bedwell and Hale were booked in the South Placer Jail on suspicion of child stealing, willful cruelty to a child, conspiracy to commit a crime and obstructing officers. Cathy Locke, sacbee, "Mother accused of abducting child during supervised visitation," 9 Feb. 2018 The charge was added to others, including willful neglect of duty, misconduct in office, and lying to a peace officer. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Doc charged with involuntary manslaughter in Flint crisis wins top health award," 12 Oct. 2018 Out of about 40 states with laws that can take licenses away for these debts, only a few require showing that the failure to pay is willful, the group says. New York Times, "Being Poor Can Mean Losing a Driver’s License. Not Anymore in Tennessee.," 4 July 2018 Thompson appealed, arguing in part that evidence showed her failure to pay was not willful or substantial. OrlandoSentinel.com, "Single mom jailed for failing to pay $947 in court costs loses legal fight," 17 May 2018 The jury ruled that the infringement was willful, and said that Samsung must pay Apple $1.05 billion. Sarah Gray, Fortune, "Apple and Samsung Are in Court Again Today. Here's Why," 14 May 2018 Yet the willful failure to register as an agent can result in a sentence of five years in federal jail. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Flynn Fiasco," 18 Dec. 2018 From Jamie's willful aunt to conniving pirate, as well as Scottish settlers intent on making a home in the new world and Native Americans, Claire and Jamie will cross paths with some very interesting people in the coming episodes. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Outlander Season 4: Meet the New Cast," 30 Oct. 2018 Nghia Hoang Pho of Ellicott City, Maryland, had earlier pleaded guilty to willful retention of national defense information. Fox News, "Ex-NSA worker sentenced for taking secret documents home," 25 Sep. 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

21 Jan 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

: 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 \

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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