Definition of wrong in English:

wrong

Syllabification: wrong
Pronunciation: /rôNG
 
/

adjective

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.
Synonyms
incorrect, mistaken, in error, erroneous, inaccurate, inexact, imprecise, fallacious, wide of the mark, off target, unsound, faulty
informal out
1.1 [predic.] 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.
Synonyms
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 [predic.] 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.
Synonyms
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.
Synonyms
illegal, unlawful, illicit, criminal, dishonest, dishonorable, corrupt; unethical, immoral, bad, wicked, sinful, iniquitous, nefarious, blameworthy, reprehensible
informal crooked

adverb

Back to top  
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.
Synonyms

noun

Back to top  
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.
Synonyms
misdeed, offense, injury, crime, transgression, violation, peccadillo, sin; injustice, outrage, atrocity; Lawtort
archaic trespass
1.1 Law A breach, by commission or omission, of one’s legal duty.
More 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.
More 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.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
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.
Synonyms
ill-use, mistreat, do an injustice to, do wrong to, ill-treat, abuse, harm, hurt, injure

Origin

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

Phrases

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
  • You have done wrong, but in comparison to the very real evil that is sometimes revealed by prosecutors, your offending lies at the bottom of the scale.
  • In both cases, randomly selected groups of citizens are asked to impose punishment on those found to have done wrong.
  • We have done wrong and we ask you to forgive us.

do someone wrong

Treat someone unjustly: he sought revenge against those who had done him wrong
More example sentences
  • Wickham also says that he will not run away from Darcy because he has no reason to be afraid since Darcy is the one who has done him wrong.
  • What was even worse was hearing women thank their doctors, who, in my opinion, had really done them wrong.
  • In this difficult environment, one would expect Irish artists to be spending most of their time writing angry lyrics about how the record industry done them wrong before hanging up their guitars and putting on interview suits.

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.
More 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.
More example sentences
  • I told him to stay on the motorway until we got near Warwick but after half an hour he went wrong again.
  • After the exam don't spend endless time criticising yourself for where you think you went wrong.
  • Finding out where you went wrong is crucial, but may not be easy.
(Of a device) malfunction; develop a fault.
Develop 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.
Synonyms
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.
More 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.
Synonyms
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.
More 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.

Derivatives

wronger

noun
More 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.

wrongly

adverb
More example sentences
  • The event will not include a swimwear section, as was wrongly reported in last Saturday's paper.
  • If they choose wrongly they could be sent away, further delaying treatment.
  • The council believes up to 300 wrongly addressed envelopes slipped through the net.

wrongness

noun
More 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?

More definitions of wrong

Definition of wrong in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day erroneous
Pronunciation: ɪˈrəʊnɪəs
adjective
wrong; incorrect