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

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 Putin’s key delusion is his willful failure to understand—and accept—how Ukraine has come to be. Tarik Cyril Amar, Time, 4 Mar. 2022 In dissent, Justice Gorsuch accused the majority of willful blindness. Jess Bravin, WSJ, 3 Mar. 2022 The courts constantly deprecate the practice of claiming willful blindness, and the accountant or attorney must report financial fraud rather than feigning ignorance of their client’s money laundering business. Benjamin Chou, Forbes, 21 Dec. 2021 If convicted, McAfee had faced a maximum of five years in prison on each count of tax evasion and a maximum sentence of one year in prison on each count of willful failure to file a tax return. Christine Pelisek, PEOPLE.com, 23 June 2021 Bassett then became a folk hero, embraced by free Black people and enslaved people throughout the Caribbean as a symbol of willful defiance to White oppression. Washington Post, 29 Apr. 2022 There’s a big difference between willful tax evasion and an honest mistake stemming from an ambiguous tax code. Travis Nix, WSJ, 27 Apr. 2022 Some of the most esteemed long-distance trails in recent years have been built by willful enthusiasts. New York Times, 20 Apr. 2022 Most of the non-willful fines were in the hundreds of dollars. oregonlive, 20 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near willful

willeyer

willful

Willgerodt-Kindler reaction

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Statistics for willful

Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Willful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/willful. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for willful

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

More from Merriam-Webster on willful

Nglish: Translation of willful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of willful for Arabic Speakers

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