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”


    of your own free will or design; done by choice; not forced or compelled
  2. adjective

    habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition

    froward, headstrong, self-willed, wilful


    not obeying or complying with commands of those in authority

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