Origin of wrong

before 1100; (adj.) Middle English wrong, wrang, Old English wrang, perhaps < Old Danish wrang; compare Danish vrang wrong, Old Norse rangr awry; (v. and adv.) Middle English, derivative of the adj.; (noun) Middle English; Old English wrang, derivative of the adj.; akin to wring

Related forms

wrong·er, nounwrong·ly, adverbwrong·ness, nounqua·si-wrong, adjective

Can be confused

wrong wrongful Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for go wrong

Derived Forms

wronger, nounwrongly, adverbwrongness, noun

Word Origin for wrong

Old English wrang injustice, from Old Norse vrang; see wring
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

Idioms and Phrases with go wrong (1 of 2)

go wrong


Go astray, make a mistake. For example, We made a left turn and somehow went wrong from then on, or You won't go wrong if you follow the directions in the dress pattern. [c. 1300]


Take to evil ways, become a criminal, as in As soon as he turned thirteen, Billy fell in with a gang and began to go wrong. [c. 1500]


Fail, turn out badly, as in Everything about this party has gone wrong. [Late 1500s]


Fail to work properly, as in The car starts fine, but as soon as you put it in gear, the transmission goes wrong. [Late 1800s]

Idioms and Phrases with go wrong (2 of 2)


see back the wrong horse; bark up the wrong tree; do someone wrong; get someone wrong; get up on the wrong side of bed; go wrong; in the wrong; on the right (wrong) foot; on the right (wrong) tack; right (wrong) side of the tracks; rub the wrong way; take the wrong way; two wrongs do not make a right.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.