wrong·​ful | \ˈrȯŋ-fəl \

Definition of wrongful 

1 : wrong, unjust

2a : having no legal sanction : unlawful

b : having no legal claim a wrongful heir

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Other Words from wrongful

wrongfully \ˈrȯŋ-​fə-​lē \ adverb
wrongfulness noun

Examples of wrongful in a Sentence

He is suing his former employer for wrongful termination. charged with wrongful possession of narcotics

Recent Examples on the Web

One of the deputies, who fatally shot a black man during a foot pursuit, acknowledged the tattoos in testimony from a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by the man’s family. Shelby Grad, latimes.com, "Essential California: Why the heat left so many powerless in L.A.," 10 July 2018 At least 15 people convicted of injuring or killing an infant by violent shaking have since been exonerated, according to a national registry of wrongful convictions. Marisa Gerber, latimes.com, "Judge orders release of woman who served 11 years behind bars in grandson's death," 12 July 2018 This practice has led to wrongful convictions, civil liberties groups say. Alan Feuer, New York Times, "Court Warns City About Misuse of Material Witness Warrants," 21 June 2018 Borakove, at the Justice Management Institute, warns that too much emphasis on conviction rates can lead to wrongful convictions. Justin Fenton, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby drops more cases, secures fewer convictions than predecessor," 30 May 2018 This could be the story of two wrongful convictions. Maya Dukmasova, Chicago Reader, "Hundreds of Illinois prisoners languish behind bars waiting for Dorothy Brown to do her job," 24 May 2018 McCoy was found not guilty of murder in a 2017 retrial and had been giving speeches on wrongful convictions before his winter arrest. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Freed death row inmate-turned-speaker faces fresh sex trafficking charges," 14 May 2018 In 2003, Conway was among the first donors to the Ohio Innocence Project, a program of lawyers and law students who investigate cases of wrongful conviction. Anne Saker, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati civic leader Robert Conway, supporter of Catholic causes, dies at 90," 13 Apr. 2018 Brooks suffered humiliation, wrongful termination and physical and mental pain from the incident, the lawsuit says. Andrew Dalton, The Seattle Times, "Crew member says Johnny Depp punched him on LA film set," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wrongful.' 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 wrongful

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

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The first known use of wrongful was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of wrongful

: not legal, fair, or moral


wrong·​ful | \ˈrȯŋ-fəl \

Kids Definition of wrongful


wrong·​ful | \ˈrȯŋ-fəl \

Legal Definition of wrongful 

1 : constituting a wrong especially : injurious to the rights of another a wrongful act or omission

2 : unlawful remained in wrongful occupation of the property a wrongful occupant

Other Words from wrongful

wrongfully adverb
wrongfulness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on wrongful

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wrongful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wrongful

Spanish Central: Translation of wrongful

Nglish: Translation of wrongful for Spanish Speakers

Comments on wrongful

What made you want to look up wrongful? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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