wrong·​ful | \ ˈrȯŋ-fəl How to pronounce wrongful (audio) \

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 How to pronounce wrongful (audio) \ 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 Since 1973, 185 death row inmates in the U.S. have seen their wrongful convictions overturned, according to data tracked by the Death Penalty Information Center. Robert Gehrke, The Salt Lake Tribune, 13 Sep. 2021 Two groups that work to overturn wrongful convictions argued in a petition filed Monday that a man who has spent more than 20 years in prison for killing his mother did not commit the crime. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 24 Aug. 2021 But the study found that only 4 percent of prosecutors involved in wrongful convictions were disciplined, and police officers were disciplined in 19 percent of cases. Washington Post, 14 Aug. 2021 According to a news release from the University of Detroit Mercy, the goal of the clinic is to educate law students about issues that lead to wrongful convictions and engage students directly in reviewing innocence claims. Kyle Davidson, Detroit Free Press, 8 Aug. 2021 The University of Michigan’s National Registry of Exonerations says that false confessions are the leading cause of wrongful convictions in homicide cases. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, 25 July 2021 More than $56,000 in fees paid to Burke Williams & Sorensen was for legal work performed by William Price, an attorney who was defending the city in a wrongful-termination case filed by former prosecutor Marlea Dell’Anno. Jeff Mcdonald, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Sep. 2021 The deposition was part of a lawsuit brought by former Valdosta coach Alan Rodemaker, who was suing the school board for wrongful termination. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, 27 Aug. 2021 Records generated in a 2018 wrongful termination suit – the employee ultimately lost – depict Walker as a temperamental and unreliable partner. Brian Slodysko, USA TODAY, 26 July 2021

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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Time Traveler for wrongful

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

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Dictionary Entries Near wrongful



wrongful abstraction

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Statistics for wrongful

Last Updated

22 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wrongful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wrongful. Accessed 23 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for wrongful



English Language Learners Definition of wrongful

: not legal, fair, or moral


wrong·​ful | \ ˈrȯŋ-fəl How to pronounce wrongful (audio) \

Kids Definition of wrongful


wrong·​ful | \ ˈrȯŋ-fəl How to pronounce wrongful (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on wrongful

Nglish: Translation of wrongful for Spanish Speakers


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