Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

willful

or wil·ful

[wil-fuh l]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
adjective
  1. deliberate, voluntary, or intentional: The coroner ruled the death willful murder.
  2. unreasonably stubborn or headstrong; self-willed.
Show More

Origin of willful

1150–1200; Middle English; Old English wilful willing. See will2, -ful
Related formswill·ful·ly, adverbwill·ful·ness, nounhalf-will·ful, adjectivehalf-will·ful·ly, adverbhalf-will·ful·ness, nounun·will·ful, adjectiveun·will·ful·ly, adverbun·will·ful·ness, noun

Synonyms

See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. volitional. 2. intransigent; contrary, refractory, pigheaded, inflexible, obdurate, adamant. Willful, headstrong, perverse, wayward refer to one who stubbornly insists upon doing as he or she pleases. Willful suggests a stubborn persistence in doing what one wishes, especially in opposition to those whose wishes or commands ought to be respected or obeyed: that willful child who disregarded his parents' advice. One who is headstrong is often foolishly, and sometimes violently, self-willed: reckless and headstrong youths. The perverse person is unreasonably or obstinately intractable or contrary, often with the express intention of being disagreeable: perverse out of sheer spite. Wayward in this sense has the connotation of rash wrongheadedness that gets one into trouble: a reform school for wayward girls.

Antonyms

2. obedient, tractable.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for willfulness

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Is my niece accounting for her willfulness in staying at home this morning?

    Rutledge

    Miriam Coles Harris

  • Freedom in this form is only willfulness, because devoid of an inward law.

    Nineteenth Century Questions

    James Freeman Clarke

  • Don't you realize what the judge will say when I show up your willfulness?

  • Because of our ignorance, our indifference, and our willfulness.

  • And then I knew how heavily Carrie's willfulness had weighed on that patient heart.

    Esther

    Rosa Nouchette Carey


British Dictionary definitions for willfulness

willful

adjective
  1. the US spelling of wilful
Show More
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for willfulness

willful

adj.

c.1200, "strong-willed," from will (n.) + -ful. Willfully is late Old English wilfullice "of one's own free will, voluntarily;" bad sense of "on purpose" is attested from late 14c.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper