Definition of wrong in English:

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Pronunciation: /rôNG/


1Not correct or true: that is the wrong answer
More example sentences
  • The experimenter records whether that answer was correct or wrong.
  • If the answer is wrong, the computer says the same and gives the correct answer.
  • Instead of correcting the wrong bits I should have just thrown the whole analogy back at him.
incorrect, mistaken, in error, erroneous, inaccurate, inexact, imprecise, fallacious, wide of the mark, off target, unsound, faulty
informal out
1.1 [predicative] Mistaken: I was wrong about him being on the yacht that evening
More example sentences
  • On this appeal the Claimant contends that the Judge was wrong and should not in any event have decided the point summarily.
  • Daunting as it nonetheless was, I was quite wrong to be so awed.
  • Can all of those people in the audience be wrong and those few judges be right?
1.2Unsuitable or undesirable: they asked all the wrong questions
More example sentences
  • Shifting his imposing frame, his expression takes on a thunderous aspect, suggesting this is the wrong question to ask.
  • Perhaps we have, like Alice, simply been asking the wrong question.
  • A shadow seemed to pass over her face, and now it seemed that I had asked the wrong question.
inappropriate, unsuitable, inapt, inapposite, undesirable;
ill-advised, ill-considered, ill-judged, impolitic, injudicious, infelicitous, unfitting, out of keeping, improper
informal out of order
1.3 [predicative] In a bad or abnormal condition; amiss: something was wrong with the pump
More example sentences
  • Doctors were unable to find out exactly what was wrong with Chloe and her condition remains undiagnosed.
  • Dairy products were blamed for virtually everything medically wrong with the younger generation.
  • She's seen innumerable specialists, all of whom have been baffled as to what could be wrong with her and then passing her on to someone else.
amiss, awry, out of order, not right, faulty, flawed, defective
2Unjust, dishonest, or immoral: they were wrong to take the law into their own hands it was wrong of me to write you such an angry note
More example sentences
  • If it's wrong to extol virtue, it should be wrong to condemn a vice like hypocrisy.
  • It is wrong to make it illegal to lower the cost of tax and lower the cost to seniors.
  • Mr. Kelly added that it would be wrong to condemn the lack of a parade and then do nothing about it.
illegal, unlawful, illicit, criminal, dishonest, dishonorable, corrupt;
unethical, immoral, bad, wicked, sinful, iniquitous, nefarious, blameworthy, reprehensible
informal crooked


1In an unsuitable or undesirable manner or direction: what am I doing wrong?
More example sentences
  • The 757 was intended to replace the 727, but for some reason Boeing got its market research wrong.
  • Nothing like this has ever happened to her, she just doesn't understand what she did wrong and why somebody would want to hurt her.
  • They're nasty and confusing and I'm obsessed that if I fill them in wrong they'll put me in prison or something.
1.1With an incorrect result: she guessed wrong
More example sentences
  • We guessed wrong both times, but that's the way it is sometimes.
  • If you guess right you will appear to be a genius, if you guess wrong you will look foolish.
  • ChoicePoint got his middle name wrong and reported that there was a bench warrant for his arrest in Arizona.
incorrectly, wrongly, inaccurately, erroneously, mistakenly, in error


1An unjust, dishonest, or immoral action: I have done you a great wrong
More example sentences
  • And there will be, inevitably, and quite immorally, an attempt to obscure the historical wrongs and the injustices that lie behind the firestorms.
  • Both wrongs also constituted a criminal offence.
  • I cannot see how it is possible to right the wrong of murder or another crime with killing someone.
misdeed, offense, injury, crime, transgression, violation, peccadillo, sin;
injustice, outrage, atrocity;
Law  tort
archaic trespass
1.1 Law A breach, by commission or omission, of one’s legal duty.
Example sentences
  • Equitable compensation is available to redress equitable wrongs such as breach of fiduciary duty on much the same basis as compensatory damages would be available in a torts case.
  • The second group of cases within this head of equitable jurisdiction is far more important: injunctions to restrain legal wrongs.
1.2 Law An invasion of right to the damage or prejudice of another.
Example sentences
  • Trial lawyers representing plaintiff rights can sue and win compensation and punitive money damages to redress the wrongs done to their clients.
  • Mr. Daiches further submitted that I should follow the common law in not awarding damages for future wrongs.
  • The wrong for which user damages compensate a claimant is the defendant's use for his own benefit of the goods.


[with object]
1Act unjustly or dishonestly toward (someone): please forgive me these things and the people I have wronged
More example sentences
  • Jules was capable of getting very aggressive towards people who wronged her and the people close to her.
  • If a citizen is wronged by any party, he or she can count on it that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights will protect him and justice will prevail.
  • They act with anger towards those who they feel have wronged them.
1.1Mistakenly attribute bad motives to; misrepresent: perhaps I wrong him
More example sentences
  • Typically, people who feel wronged by the media sue for libel.
  • Because this is a novel, Glass can sketch nasty portraits of those close to him, all the while explaining how sorry he is that he wronged them.
  • Efforts are being made to allow ordinary citizens a more prompt and accessible redress where they feel they were wronged in a newspaper report.
ill-use, mistreat, do an injustice to, do wrong to, ill-treat, abuse, harm, hurt, injure



do wrong

Commit an unjust, dishonest, or immoral act: they admit she has done wrong, but believe the punishment is too harsh
More example sentences
  • We try to do good and we end up doing wrong.
  • The only real epiphany in the movie is the realization that we know right from wrong, and choose to do wrong anyway.
  • If it is true that we cannot do wrong without suffering wrong, we must brace for more grief to come.

do someone wrong

Treat someone unjustly: he sought revenge against those who had done him wrong
More example sentences
  • Bombarded with stories about unscrupulous corporate executives and the employees they done wrong, workers begin to gaze warily at their own managers.
  • Forget tearjerkers and 'He done me wrong' flicks.
  • He hasn't done me wrong so far.

get someone wrong

Misunderstand someone, especially by falsely imputing malice: now, don’t get me wrong, my fellow players are a great bunch of people
More example sentences
  • Don't get us wrong: we are happy to do the vaccinations, but we must be resourced.
  • Don't get us wrong - Phoenix Nights was funny while it lasted.
  • Don't get us wrong, some of our best friends are engineers but a transit system is more than a collection of vehicles and schedules.

go down the wrong way

(Of food) enter the windpipe instead of the gullet.
Example sentences
  • She said: ‘He said he had difficulty swallowing with the stroke and he said it was a bit of food that has gone down the wrong way.’
  • He said he thought the problem had been a bit of food going down the wrong way.
  • Feeding tubes are usually put in when a person can't swallow and will starve without assistance, and/or risk what's called aspiration pneumonia, which is when food goes down the wrong way and hits the lungs.

go wrong

Make a mistake.
Example sentences
  • The big area where I personally went wrong was in estimating GDP growth.
  • But in the meantime education and information initiatives would be introduced to let people know where they were going wrong.
  • I don't know where I've gone wrong.
5.1(Of a device) malfunction; develop a fault.
5.2Develop in an undesirable way: the government has ordered an inquiry to ascertain what went wrong
More example sentences
  • He must be tearing his hair out right now because the team are going through one of those spells where everything that can go wrong, is going wrong.
  • If things are going wrong, we need to know that they are going wrong, so we can put them right.
  • She had a great turn of phrase and sense of humour and could see the funny side even when things went wrong.
go awry, go amiss, go off course, fail, be unsuccessful, fall through, come to nothing;
backfire, misfire, rebound
informal come to grief, come a cropper, go up in smoke, go adrift

in the wrong

Responsible for a quarrel, mistake, or offense.
Example sentences
  • When I have tried to point out the cycle track I have been verbally abused even though they are in the wrong.
  • Few would object to paying a fine if in the wrong, but when people have paid and paid again, it becomes a violation.
  • So in his world, it will be me that is in the wrong for swearing at him.
to blame, blameworthy, at fault, reprehensible, responsible, culpable, answerable, guilty
archaic peccant

two wrongs don't make a right

proverb The fact that someone has done something unjust or dishonest is no justification for acting in a similar way.
Example sentences
  • The answers generally fell into two categories: The end justifies the means or two wrongs don't make a right.
  • ‘What one forgets is that these prisoners have been victims too, and two wrongs don't make a right,’ Mr Ellis said.
  • There are other takeaways causing problems, but two wrongs don't make a right.



Example sentences
  • He's a wronger alright.
  • In this case, the wrongers are a bunch of young city slickers weekending in a small southern mountain town where they can practice their dirtbiking and boozing.


Pronunciation: /ˈrôNGnəs/
Example sentences
  • Against what standard is this wrongness measured?
  • There's just a wrongness about him that makes my skin crawl.
  • Need I elaborate on the wrongness of this interpretation?


Late Old English wrang, from Old Norse rangr 'awry, unjust'; related to wring.

  • An Old English word from Old Norse rangr ‘awry, unjust’, which first meant ‘crooked, curved, or twisted’ and is related to wring (Old English). Until the 17th century the wr- would have been pronounced, and there was obviously something about the sound that suggested the idea of twisting—many English words beginning with wr-, such as wrist, writhe, and wreathe (all OE), contain the notion. Although to get the wrong end of the stick now means ‘to misunderstand something’, the original sense seems to have been ‘to come off worse’. The example in The Swell's Night Guide, a guide to London low life published in 1846, gives an idea of what was wrong with the ‘wrong end’: ‘Which of us had hold of the crappy…end of the stick?’ The proverb two wrongs don't make a right dates from the late 18th century. The Hungarian-born psychiatrist Thomas Szasz summed up the feelings of many when he said in 1973: ‘Two wrongs don't make a right, but they make a good excuse.’

Words that rhyme with wrong

along, belong, bong, chaise longue, Geelong, gong, Guangdong, Haiphong, Heilong, Hong Kong, Jong, King Kong, long, mah-jong, Mao Zedong, Mekong, nong, pong, prolong, sarong, Shillong, song, souchong, strong, thong, throng, tong, Vietcong

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: wrong

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