or wil·ful

[ wil-fuhl ]
See synonyms for: willfulwillfullywillfulness on Thesaurus.com

  1. deliberate, voluntary, or intentional: The coroner ruled the death willful murder.

  2. unreasonably stubborn or headstrong; self-willed.

Origin of willful

First recorded in 1150–1200; Middle English; Old English wilful “willing”; see will2, -ful

synonym study For willful

2. Willful, headstrong, perverse, wayward refer to one who stubbornly insists upon doing as they please. 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 teens.

Other words for willful

Opposites for willful

Other words from willful

  • will·ful·ly, adverb
  • will·ful·ness, noun
  • half-will·ful, adjective
  • half-will·ful·ness, noun
  • un·will·ful, adjective
  • un·will·ful·ness, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use willful in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for willful


/ (ˈwɪlfʊl) /

  1. 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