Definition of willful in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈwilfəl/
(also wilful)


1(Of an immoral or illegal act or omission) intentional; deliberate: willful acts of damage
More example sentences
  • This willful act was in direct violation of Article 5 of the United Nations Convention on children.
  • We control universal processes, as a willful act of mankind, through these discoveries.
  • There is no greater betrayal than to impoverish a generation yet unborn by willful acts of amnesia.
1.1Having or showing a stubborn and determined intention to do as one wants, regardless of the consequences or effects: the pettish, willful side of him
More example sentences
  • Stubborn, willful, bold and determined, natives born into this combination all take themselves and their actions very seriously.
  • They can also be willful, arrogant and stubborn.
  • Stubbornly self-righteous and willful, Higgins demonstrates his ideals in his brazen disregard for the Victorian rules of conduct.
headstrong, strong-willed, obstinate, stubborn, pigheaded, recalcitrant, uncooperative, obstreperous, ungovernable, unmanageable;



Pronunciation: /ˈwilfəlnəs/
Example sentences
  • Is it willfulness, stubbornness, or just an attempt to be in control at the expense of everything and everyone else?
  • Sometimes Jaime drove his parents to distraction with his willfulness, and some nights, when he would not sleep - he was so busy watching the world outside and wondering what more there was to see - they lost their tempers.
  • Too much attention given to the only child in a family not only blinds parents' ability to reason and clouds their judgement, it also encourages the child's willfulness.


Middle English: from the noun will2 + -ful.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: will·ful

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