Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English wilful; equivalent to will +‎ -ful.


  • IPA(key): /ˈwɪlfʊl/, /ˈwɪlfəl/
  • Hyphenation: wil‧ful


wilful (comparative more wilful or wilfuller, superlative most wilful or wilfullest) (British spelling)

  1. Intentional; deliberate.
    • 2005, Irvin D. Yalom; Molyn Leszcz, The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy, page 182:
      Knowingly or unknowingly, every therapist assumes that each client possesses the capacity to change through willful choice.
    Synonyms: volitional, voluntary
  2. Stubborn and determined.
    • 1893, Edwin Caskoden, (Please provide the book title or journal name), page 110:
      Mary had taken the whim into her willful head, and Jane could not dissuade her.
    • 1995, Francine Rivers, As Sure as the Dawn, page 232:
      "He's as willful as you," Rizpah said. "If you let him hurt himself again, so help me, I'll — "
    • 2007, Roger K. Thomas, Kinshu: Autumn Brocade, translation of original by Teru Miyamoto, page 136:
      You had a pampered upbringing, and possessed enough of a willful streak that I wanted to slap you at times
    Synonyms: obstinate, self-willed, headstrong, spiteful

Derived termsEdit