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Origin of wanton

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English wantowen, literally, “undisciplined, ill-reared,” Old English wan- “not” + togen, past participle of tēon “to discipline, rear,” cognate with German ziehen, Latin dūcere “to lead”; akin to tow1

OTHER WORDS FROM wanton

wan·ton·ly, adverbwan·ton·ness, nounun·wan·ton, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH wanton

wanton , won ton
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use wanton in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for wanton

wanton
/ (ˈwɒntən) /

adjective
noun
a licentious person, esp a woman
a playful or capricious person
verb
(intr) to behave in a wanton manner
(tr) to squander or waste

Derived forms of wanton

wantonly, adverbwantonness, noun

Word Origin for wanton

C13 wantowen (in the obsolete sense: unmanageable, unruly): from wan- (prefix equivalent to un- 1; related to Old English wanian to wane) + -towen, from Old English togen brought up, from tēon to bring up
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
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