Nearby words

  1. wantage,
  2. wantagh,
  3. wantaway,
  4. wanted,
  5. wanting,
  6. wantonly,
  7. wanxian,
  8. wany,
  9. wap,
  10. wapatoo

Origin of wanton

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

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

Can be confusedwanton won ton Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for wantonly

British Dictionary definitions for wantonly



dissolute, licentious, or immoral
without motive, provocation, or justificationwanton destruction
maliciously and unnecessarily cruel or destructive
unrestrainedwanton spending
archaic, or poetic playful or capricious
archaic (of vegetation, etc) luxuriant or superabundant


a licentious person, esp a woman
a playful or capricious person


(intr) to behave in a wanton manner
(tr) to squander or waste
Derived Formswantonly, 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

Word Origin and History for wantonly
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper