- deliberate, voluntary, or intentional: The coroner ruled the death willful murder.
- unreasonably stubborn or headstrong; self-willed.
Origin of willful
SynonymsSee more synonyms for willful 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 wilful
That would be presumption indeed, not to say wilful self-deception.Wilfrid Cumbermede
There is no halt to be looked for, no tranquillity in renunciation and wilful blindness.Doctor Pascal
Of such a quality is the love of princes—vain, capricious, and wilful.Bardelys the Magnificent
Suddenly she seemed to him most pathetic in her wilful folly.The Prisoner
You preferred being obstinate and wilful toward me, I suppose?A Bride of the Plains
Baroness Emmuska Orczy
- intent on having one's own way; headstrong or obstinate
- intentionalwilful murder
- the US spelling of wilful
Word Origin and History for wilful
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper