Willful means "deliberate" or "stubborn." A child who exhibits willful disobedience knows she is doing something wrong (even if she tries to convince you otherwise).

While being full of will, or determination, doesn’t necessarily seem like a bad thing, the word willful is negative in meaning. Use it when someone is behaving in a stubborn or uncooperative manner. To describe someone who possesses dedication or perseverance in a positive sense, consider determined, driven, or decisive — and that’s just the d's!

Definitions of willful
  1. adjective
    done by design
    willful disobedience”
    synonyms: wilful
    of your own free will or design; done by choice; not forced or compelled
  2. adjective
    habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition
    synonyms: froward, headstrong, self-willed, wilful
    not obeying or complying with commands of those in authority
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DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘willful'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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