- deliberate, voluntary, or intentional: The coroner ruled the death willful murder.
- unreasonably stubborn or headstrong; self-willed.
Origin of willful
SynonymsSee 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.
2. obedient, tractable.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for willfulness
We can feel her sensuality and willfulness in the first daguerreotype we have of Mary, taken in 1846, when she was twenty-seven.Lincoln in Love
February 14, 2014
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?When Egypt Went Broke
Because of our ignorance, our indifference, and our willfulness.Notes on the Book of Deuteronomy, Volume II
Charles Henry Mackintosh
And then I knew how heavily Carrie's willfulness had weighed on that patient heart.Esther
Rosa Nouchette Carey
- the US spelling of wilful
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
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper