wrong

1 of 4

noun

1
a
: an injurious, unfair, or unjust act : action or conduct inflicting harm without due provocation or just cause
b
: a violation or invasion of the legal rights of another
especially : tort
2
: something wrong, immoral, or unethical
especially : principles, practices, or conduct contrary to justice, goodness, equity, or law
3
: the state, position, or fact of being or doing wrong: such as
a
: the state of being mistaken or incorrect
b
: the state of being guilty

wrong

2 of 4

adjective

wronger ˈrȯŋ-ər How to pronounce wrong (audio) ; wrongest ˈrȯŋ-əst How to pronounce wrong (audio)
1
: not according to the moral standard : sinful, immoral
thought that war was wrong
2
: not right or proper according to a code, standard, or convention : improper
it was wrong not to thank your host
3
: not according to truth or facts : incorrect
gave a wrong date
4
: not satisfactory (as in condition, results, health, or temper)
5
: not in accordance with one's needs, intent, or expectations
took the wrong bus
6
: of, relating to, or constituting the side of something that is usually held to be opposite to the principal one, that is the one naturally or by design turned down, inward, or away, or that is the least finished or polished
wrongly adverb
wrongness noun

wrong

3 of 4

adverb

1
: without accuracy : incorrectly
guessed wrong
2
: without regard for what is proper or just
was reprimanded for what he had done wrong
3
: in a wrong direction
turned wrong at the junction
4
a
: in an unsuccessful or unfortunate way
something went wrong
b
: out of working order or condition
5
: in a false light
don't get me wrong

wrong

4 of 4

verb

wronged; wronging ˈrȯŋ-iŋ How to pronounce wrong (audio)

transitive verb

1
a
: to do wrong to : injure, harm
b
: to treat disrespectfully or dishonorably : violate
2
: defraud
usually used with of
wronged them of their land
3
wronger noun
Phrases
wrong side of the tracks
: a run-down or unfashionable neighborhood
Choose the Right Synonym for wrong

Noun

injustice, injury, wrong, grievance mean an act that inflicts undeserved hurt.

injustice applies to any act that involves unfairness to another or violation of one's rights.

the injustices suffered by the lower classes

injury applies in law specifically to an injustice for which one may sue to recover compensation.

libel constitutes a legal injury

wrong applies also in law to any act punishable according to the criminal code; it may apply more generally to any flagrant injustice.

determined to right society's wrongs

grievance applies to a circumstance or condition that constitutes an injustice to the sufferer and gives just ground for complaint.

a list of employee grievances

Verb

wrong, oppress, persecute, aggrieve mean to injure unjustly or outrageously.

wrong implies inflicting injury either unmerited or out of proportion to what one deserves.

a penal system that had wronged him

oppress suggests inhumane imposing of burdens one cannot endure or exacting more than one can perform.

a people oppressed by a warmongering tyrant

persecute implies a relentless and unremitting subjection to annoyance or suffering.

a child persecuted by constant criticism

aggrieve implies suffering caused by an infringement or denial of rights.

a legal aid society representing aggrieved minority groups

Example Sentences

Noun any reasonable person should be expected to know the difference between right and wrong trying to right all the wrongs in the world Adjective I don't want you to get the wrong impression of him. Don't take this the wrong way, but I think you should start exercising. Are my actions sending the wrong message? These pages are in the wrong order. I got four answers wrong on the test. You're wrong; the answer is six. You like baseball, or am I wrong? Am I wrong in thinking that she should never have gone? I think her birthday is May 11th, but I could be wrong. He thinks I can't win, but I'm going to prove him wrong. Adverb I entered the numbers wrong. Her name was spelled wrong on the form. I can't get this to work; could you show me what I did wrong? Verb We should forgive those who have wronged us. As the wronged party, you have the right to sue for damages. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
But Lieutenant Koelsch’s name is spelled wrong, Lieutenant McCord’s name is not on the wall at all, and the name of Frederick Bald Eagle Bear, a member of the Lakota tribe, is so mangled that the polished granite lists him as Eagle B F Bald. Dave Philipps, New York Times, 9 Jan. 2023 Things go awry when the doll begins avenging every wrong that happens to her friend, from bullies' taunts to Gemma's own attempts at mothering. Quinci Legardye, Harper's BAZAAR, 8 Jan. 2023 This lets characters age in reverse, come back to life, and arrive at the moment that sets them off in the wrong (or right) direction. Aimée Lutkin, ELLE, 6 Jan. 2023 This piece is one of those can't-go-wrong, matches-everything gifts that adds an extra dose of sparkle to anyone's jewelry collection. Alyssa Brascia, Peoplemag, 6 Jan. 2023 Kitchen mats can be considered chic if done correctly, and quickly fall into the ick category if chosen wrong. Meg Donohue, Town & Country, 5 Jan. 2023 Some joked that Ronaldo accepted a large sum to play in Saudi Arabia only to get the country’s name wrong. Abbas Al Lawati, CNN, 4 Jan. 2023 Almost everyone on Wall Street and in Washington got 2022 wrong. Akane Otani, WSJ, 26 Dec. 2022 The Treasury secretary has the mathematical sign wrong, but other than that . . . Kevin A. Hassett, National Review, 22 Dec. 2022
Adjective
As a scientist, my mind reeled with the possibilities of what could be wrong, asking questions and formulating hypotheses. Dina Piersawl, Health, 28 Jan. 2023 The movement failed in a way that got lots of people hurt and killed because its core premise is wrong — but there is a better way to help our countrymen. Wilfred Reilly, National Review, 27 Jan. 2023 However, NSW Health said the post's message is wrong. Kate S. Petersen, USA TODAY, 25 Jan. 2023 People will fill in the gaps and fantasies are often wrong, even with the best intent. Constance Dierickx, Forbes, 24 Jan. 2023 Even a subset of several dozen students studying machine learning at Carnegie Mellon University were wrong more than 20 percent of the time. Tiffany Hsu, New York Times, 22 Jan. 2023 Jan knew something was wrong when Kelli failed to pick up her then-toddler, Alexis, from daycare that afternoon. Erin Moriarty, CBS News, 21 Jan. 2023 The clarification raised the possibility that Dance’s statement might be a fabrication, and news reports that relied on it might be wrong. Paul Farhi, Washington Post, 20 Jan. 2023 The clarification raised the possibility that Dance’s statement might be a fabrication, and news reports that relied on it might be wrong. Paul Farhi, Anchorage Daily News, 20 Jan. 2023
Adverb
Things go wrong for Natalie in a fatal cover-up perpetrated by Sterling's enforcer, Cliff (Benjamin Bratt). Darren Franich, EW.com, 25 Jan. 2023 However, there are some gifts that are hard to go wrong with, especially when shopping for that special lady in your life. Josie Howell | Jhowell@al.com, al, 25 Jan. 2023 Things go wrong in the White Mountains for a number of reasons, but more often than not, it’s because someone wasn’t prepared for the weather. Kevin Koczwara, BostonGlobe.com, 24 Jan. 2023 The biophysicist Dan Kirschner told me that just thinking about everything that could go wrong in cells used to keep him awake at night. Dan Levitt, Time, 21 Jan. 2023 David Blaine had a feeling his ice pick trick was going to go wrong during his recent live show in Las Vegas. Natasha Dye, Peoplemag, 13 Jan. 2023 And above all, no central banks riding to the rescue if things go wrong. Jan-patrick Barnert, Fortune, 30 Dec. 2022 Which is why, when things go wrong with one’s mitochondria, the consequences are often calamitous. Megan Molteni, STAT, 21 Dec. 2022 The doc suggests, via interviews with the couple’s friend Lucy Fraser, that the couple’s first royal tour to Australia shortly after their wedding was where things started to go wrong after the Royal Family saw how popular Harry and Meghan were. K.j. Yossman, Variety, 15 Dec. 2022
Verb
Plus seriously difficult story to tell without aggrandizement which would b wrong! Jessica Wang, EW.com, 7 Aug. 2022 Plus seriously difficult story to tell without aggrandizement which would b wrong! Jessica Wang, EW.com, 7 Aug. 2022 Plus seriously difficult story to tell without aggrandizement which would b wrong! Jessica Wang, EW.com, 7 Aug. 2022 Plus seriously difficult story to tell without aggrandizement which would b wrong! Jessica Wang, EW.com, 7 Aug. 2022 Plus seriously difficult story to tell without aggrandizement which would b wrong! Jessica Wang, EW.com, 7 Aug. 2022 Plus seriously difficult story to tell without aggrandizement which would b wrong! Jessica Wang, EW.com, 7 Aug. 2022 Plus seriously difficult story to tell without aggrandizement which would b wrong! Jessica Wang, EW.com, 7 Aug. 2022 Plus seriously difficult story to tell without aggrandizement which would b wrong! Jessica Wang, EW.com, 7 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wrong.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English, from Old English wrang, from *wrang, adjective, wrong

Adjective

Middle English, from Old English *wrang, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse rangr awry, wrong, Danish vrang wrong side; akin to Old English wringan to wring

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of wrong was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near wrong

Cite this Entry

“Wrong.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wrong. Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

wrong

1 of 3 noun
1
: a harmful, unfair, or unjust act
2
: something that is wrong : wrong principles, practices, or conduct
know right from wrong
3
: the state, position, or fact of being or doing wrong
in the wrong

wrong

2 of 3 adjective
1
: not according to the moral standard : sinful, immoral
2
: not agreeing with proper behavior
it was wrong not to thank the hostess
3
: not suitable
wore the wrong clothes for a wedding
4
: not according to truth or facts : incorrect
a wrong answer on the test
5
: not satisfactory
there's something wrong about the story's ending
6
: not in agreement with one's needs, intentions, or expectations
took the wrong bus
7
: made so as to be placed down or under and not to be seen
the wrong side of a fabric
wrong adverb
wrongly adverb
wrongness noun

wrong

3 of 3 verb
wronged; wronging
ˈrȯŋ-iŋ
1
: to do wrong to : injure, harm
2
: to make unjust remarks about

Legal Definition

wrong

1 of 2 noun
1
: a violation of the rights of another
especially : tort
2
: something (as conduct, practices, or qualities) contrary to justice, goodness, equity, or law
the difference between right and wrong

wrong

2 of 2 transitive verb
: to do a wrong to : treat with injustice

More from Merriam-Webster on wrong

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