What does wanton mean?

Definitions for wanton
ˈwɒn tnwan·ton

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word wanton.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. wantonadjective

    lewd or lascivious woman

  2. motiveless, unprovoked, wantonadjective

    occurring without motivation or provocation

    "motiveless malignity"; "unprovoked and dastardly attack"- F.D.Roosevelt

  3. easy, light, loose, promiscuous, sluttish, wantonverb

    casual and unrestrained in sexual behavior

    "her easy virtue"; "he was told to avoid loose (or light) women"; "wanton behavior"

  4. piddle, wanton, wanton away, piddle away, trifleverb

    waste time; spend one's time idly or inefficiently

  5. wantonverb

    indulge in a carefree or voluptuous way of life

  6. wanton, wanton away, trifle awayverb

    spend wastefully

    "wanton one's money away"

  7. luxuriate, wantonverb

    become extravagant; indulge (oneself) luxuriously

  8. wantonverb

    engage in amorous play

  9. wantonverb

    behave extremely cruelly and brutally


  1. wantonnoun

    A pampered or coddled person.

  2. wantonnoun

    An overly playful person.

  3. wantonnoun

    A self-indulgent person, fond of excess.

  4. wantonnoun

    A lewd or immoral person, especially a prostitute.

  5. wantonverb

    To act wantonly; become wanton.

  6. wantonverb

    To waste or squander, especially in pleasure (often with away).

    The young man wantoned away his inheritance.

  7. wantonadjective

    Undisciplined, unruly; not able to be controlled.

  8. wantonadjective

    Lewd, immoral; sexually open, unchaste.

  9. wantonadjective

    Playful, sportive; being merry or carefree (often used figuratively).

  10. wantonadjective

    Self-indulgent, fond of excess; luxurious.

  11. wantonadjective

    Capricious, reckless of morality, justice etc.; acting without regard for the law or the well-being of others; gratuitous.

  12. wantonadjective

    Extravagant, unrestrained; excessive (of speech or thought).

  13. Etymology: From wan- + (a descendant of) togen, past participle of teon.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Wantonnoun

    Etymology: This word is derived by John Minsheu from wantone, a man or woman that wants a companion. This etymology, however odd, Franciscus Junius silently adopts. Stephen Skinner, who had more acuteness, cannot forbear to doubt it, but offers nothing better.

    Thou art froward by nature, enemy to peace,
    Lascivious, wanton; more than well beseems
    A man of thy profession. William Shakespeare, Hen. VI.

    Entic’d to do him wanton rites. John Milton.

    My plenteous joys,
    Wanton in fulness, seek to hide themselves
    In drops of sorrow. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

    Men grown wanton by prosperity,
    Study’d new arts of luxury and ease. Wentworth Dillon.

    As flies to wanton boys, we are to th’ gods:
    They kill us for their sport. William Shakespeare, K. Lear.

    Note a wild and wanton herd,
    Or race of youthful and unhandled colts,
    Fetching mad bounds. William Shakespeare, Merch. of Venice.

    Time drives the flocks from field to fold;
    The flow’rs do fade, and wanton fields
    To wayward winter reckoning yields. Walter Raleigh.

    How eagerly ye follow my disgrace,
    As if it fed ye; and how sleek and wanton
    Y’ appear, in every thing may bring my ruin. William Shakespeare.

    How does your tongue grow wanton in her praise! Addis.

    What we by day lop overgrown,
    One night or two, with wanton growth derides,
    Tending to wild. John Milton.

    Women richly gay in gems and wanton dress. John Milton.

    The quaint mazes in the wanton green,
    For want of tread are indistinguishable. John Milton.

  2. Wantonnoun

    An old wanton will be doating upon women, when he can scarce see without spectacles. Robert South, Sermons.

    To lip a wanton in a secure couch,
    And to suppose her chaste. William Shakespeare, Othello.

    Shall a beardless boy,
    A cocker’d, silken wanton brave your fields,
    Mocking the air with colours idly spread,
    And find no check? William Shakespeare, K. John.

    Pass with your best violence;
    I am afraid you make a wanton of me. William Shakespeare, Hamlet.

    Peace, my wantons; he will do,
    More than you can aim unto. Ben Jonson.

  3. To Wantonverb

    Etymology: from the noun.

    He from his guards and midnight tent,
    Disguis’d o’er hills and vallies went,
    To wanton with the sprightly dame,
    And in his pleasure lost his fame. Matthew Prior.

    Oh! I heard him wanton in his praise;
    Speak things of him might charm the ears. Thomas Otway.

    Nature here
    Wanton’d as in her prime, and play’d at will
    Her virgin fancies. John Milton.

    O ye muses! deign your blest retreat,
    Where Quintus Horatius Flaccus wantons at your spring,
    And Pindar sweeps a bolder string. Elijah Fenton.


  1. wanton

    Wanton refers to something that is deliberate and unprovoked or done without regard for the rights, feelings, or safety of others. It is often used to describe actions that are excessively reckless, cruel, or violent. In a broader or informal sense, it can also describe something that is lascivious, extravagant, or luxurious.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Wantonverb

    untrained; undisciplined; unrestrained; hence, loose; free; luxuriant; roving; sportive

  2. Wantonverb

    wandering from moral rectitude; perverse; dissolute

  3. Wantonverb

    specifically: Deviating from the rules of chastity; lewd; lustful; lascivious; libidinous; lecherous

  4. Wantonverb

    reckless; heedless; as, wanton mischief

  5. Wantonnoun

    a roving, frolicsome thing; a trifler; -- used rarely as a term of endearment

  6. Wantonnoun

    one brought up without restraint; a pampered pet

  7. Wantonnoun

    a lewd person; a lascivious man or woman

  8. Wantonverb

    to rove and ramble without restraint, rule, or limit; to revel; to play loosely; to frolic

  9. Wantonverb

    to sport in lewdness; to play the wanton; to play lasciviously

  10. Wantonverb

    to cause to become wanton; also, to waste in wantonness

  11. Etymology: [OE. wantoun, contr. from wantowen; pref. wan- wanting (see Wane, v. i.), hence expressing negation + towen, p. p., AS. togen, p. p. of ten to draw, to educate, bring up; hence, properly, ill bred. See Tug, v. t.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Wanton

    won′tun, adj. moving or playing loosely: roving in sport: frisky: wandering from rectitude: licentious: running to excess: unrestrained: irregular.—n. a wanton or lewd person, esp. a female: a trifler.—v.i. to ramble without restraint: to frolic: to play lasciviously.—adv. Wan′tonly.—n. Wan′tonness. [M. E. wantowen, from pfx. wan-, sig. want, A.S. togen, educated, pa.p. of teón, to draw, lead; cf. Ger. ungezogen, rude.]

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Wanton is ranked #110286 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Wanton surname appeared 160 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Wanton.

    75% or 120 total occurrences were Black.
    14.3% or 23 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    6.2% or 10 total occurrences were White.
    3.7% or 6 total occurrences were of two or more races.

Matched Categories

How to pronounce wanton?

How to say wanton in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of wanton in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of wanton in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of wanton in a Sentence

  1. Emmerson Mnangagwa:

    One week ago I announced measures to stabilize our nation's crucial fuel supply. I was aware that these measures may not be popular, and this was not a decision we took lightly. But it was the right thing to do, what followed was regrettable and tragic. Everyone has the right to protest, but this was not a peaceful protest. Wanton violence and cynical destruction ; looting police stations, stealing guns and uniforms ; incitement and threats of violence. This is not the Zimbabwean way.

  2. Maamoun Abdulkarim:

    It's as though there is a curse that has befallen this city and I expect only news that will shock us. If the city remains in their hands the city is doomed, it is now wanton destruction ... their acts of vengeance are no longer ideologically driven because they are now blowing up buildings with no religious meaning.

  3. Gabrielle Carteris:

    Donald Trump attacked the values that this union holds most sacred – democracy, truth, respect for our fellow Americans of all races and faiths, and the sanctity of the free press, there’s a straight line from his wanton disregard for the truth to the attacks on journalists perpetrated by his followers.

  4. The US:

    No country has the right to make wanton criticism and meddle in them, the Chinese government is firmly determined to oppose The US interference in Hong Kong affairs, safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, and implement One Country, Two Systems.

  5. Jeffrey Bank:

    Three women brutally attacked our hosts without provocation, got arrested and charged for their misconduct, and then, over the last several days, had their lawyer falsely and grossly misrepresent their acts of wanton violence in a cynical attempt to try to excuse the inexcusable.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for wanton

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • skelmAfrikaans
  • свавольнікіBelarusian
  • boshaftes Kind, unkeusch, Schelm, lüstern, BalgGerman
  • desobediente, malcriadoSpanish
  • kuriton, haaskata, irstas, holtiton, tuhlata, rietas, siveetön, pelle, leikkisä, huikentelevainen, hätäinen, lellikki, vastuuton, riehakasFinnish
  • lascif, lubrique, indiscipliné, dévergondéFrench
  • sfrenatoItalian
  • 悪意のあるJapanese
  • lasciviensLatin
  • onbeheerst, onkuis, losbandig, wellustigDutch
  • złośliwy, niepohamowany, nieposkromiony, nieposłusznyPolish
  • impúdico, devassoPortuguese
  • распутный, безответственный, блудливый, транжирить, баловник, капризный, баловницаRussian
  • nestašna dijete, несташна дијетеSerbo-Croatian
  • lättfärdig, lössläppt, ohämmadSwedish
  • 放肆Chinese

Get even more translations for wanton »


Find a translation for the wanton definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"wanton." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 16 Jun 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/wanton>.

Discuss these wanton definitions with the community:

1 Comment
  • Brad Johnston
    Brad Johnston
    The word 'wanton' has so many usages that are similar in tone but slightly different that it is a word that should be avoided. If you are tempted to use it, don't. Think more carefully about what you intend and then use a more precise word. 'Wanton' is not a good word to either learn or to have at hand. It is useless.
    Illustration: Where's Toledo? "Oh, somewheres out thataway", pointing more-or-less, say, north, at least more north than, say, south.
    No wonder there are "zero comments". There is no way to post this without also posting it on the infinite world of Facebook. Thanks, no.
    LikeReply8 years ago

Are we missing a good definition for wanton? Don't keep it to yourself...

Free, no signup required:

Add to Chrome

Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

Free, no signup required:

Add to Firefox

Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

Browse Definitions.net


Are you a words master?

a motley assortment of things
A hunch
B dint
C hodgepodge
D hypernym

Nearby & related entries:

Alternative searches for wanton: