Wilful or Willful

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meaning with examples

While wilful is the original spelling of this adjective, willful is also correct and is the preferred spelling in North America.

Wilful/willful is used when describing someone who is stubborn and does what he/she wants regardless of the consequences.

  • I don’t like looking after Patrick’s children. They are so wilful.
  • Were you a wilful child?
  • Dean is quick-tempered and wilful. He is a nightmare to work with.

Wilful also means intentional, deliberate. In this sense, it’s used to describe actions that were done on purpose.

  • I will never forgive Tom. What he did was a wilful and vile attack on my reputation.
  • They say it wasn’t an accident. It was wilful murder.
  • Wilful neglect of a child is a criminal offence.

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