from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Lascivious or promiscuous. Used especially of women.
  • adjective Exciting or expressing sexual desire.
  • adjective Marked by unprovoked, gratuitous maliciousness; capricious and unjust.
  • adjective Unrestrainedly excessive.
  • adjective Luxuriant; overabundant.
  • adjective Frolicsome; playful.
  • adjective Obsolete Rebellious; refractory.
  • intransitive verb To behave in a wanton manner; act lasciviously.
  • intransitive verb To move idly or playfully.
  • noun One, especially a woman, who is licentious or promiscuous.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Ill brought up; undisciplined; unrestrained; hence, free from moral control.
  • Characterized by extreme recklessness, fool-hardiness, or heartlessness; malicious; recklessly disregardful of right or of consequences: applied both to persons and to their acts.
  • Wild; unruly; loose; unrestrained.
  • Playful; sportive; frolicsome.
  • Rank; luxuriant.
  • Characterized by unrestrained indulgence of the natural impulses or appetites; dissolute; licentious.
  • Particularly, unchaste; lascivious; libidinous; lustful; lewd.
  • noun A pampered, petted creature; one spoiled by fondness or indulgence; also, a frolicsome, roving, sportive creature; a trifier: used sometimes as a term of endearment.
  • noun A lewd person; a lascivious man or woman.
  • To revel; frolic unrestrainedly; sport.
  • To sport or dally in lewdness; sport lasciviously.
  • To make wanton.
  • To spend or waste in wantonness.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To rove and ramble without restraint, rule, or limit; to revel; to play loosely; to frolic.
  • intransitive verb To sport in lewdness; to play the wanton; to play lasciviously.
  • adjective Untrained; undisciplined; unrestrained; hence, loose; free; luxuriant; roving; sportive.
  • adjective Wandering from moral rectitude; perverse; dissolute.
  • adjective Specifically: Deviating from the rules of chastity; lewd; lustful; lascivious; libidinous; lecherous.
  • adjective Reckless; heedless.
  • noun A roving, frolicsome thing; a trifler; -- used rarely as a term of endearment.
  • noun One brought up without restraint; a pampered pet.
  • noun A lewd person; a lascivious man or woman.
  • transitive verb obsolete To cause to become wanton; also, to waste in wantonness.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective obsolete Undisciplined, unruly; not able to be controlled.
  • adjective Lewd, immoral; sexually open, unchaste.
  • adjective obsolete Playful, sportive; being merry or carefree (often used figuratively).
  • adjective obsolete Self-indulgent, fond of excess; luxurious.
  • adjective Capricious, reckless of morality, justice etc.; acting without regard for the law or the well-being of others; gratuitous.
  • adjective obsolete Extravagant, unrestrained; excessive (of speech or thought).
  • noun A pampered or coddled person.
  • noun An overly playful person.
  • noun A self-indulgent person, fond of excess.
  • noun archaic A lewd or immoral person, especially a prostitute.
  • verb intransitive To act wantonly; become wanton.
  • verb transitive To waste or squander, especially in pleasure (often with away).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun lewd or lascivious woman
  • verb spend wastefully
  • verb behave extremely cruelly and brutally
  • adjective occurring without motivation or provocation


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English wantowen : wan-, not, lacking (from Old English; see euə- in Indo-European roots) + towen, past participle of teen, to bring up (from Old English tēon, to lead, draw; see deuk- in Indo-European roots).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From wan- + (a descendant of) Old English togen, past participle of tēon ("to train, discipline").


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  • Quite possibly my 10th grade English teacher's favorite word.

    January 6, 2007

  • And my favorite type of Chinese soup :)

    January 6, 2007

  • Now I'm hungry. And maybe not for soup!

    January 7, 2007

  • As in wanton hussy.

    May 7, 2007

  • Wanton waste of time

    June 9, 2008

  • Citation on jointure.

    September 12, 2008

  • "he has fewer of those humorous caprices of expression of which formerly he was wont to wanton".

    From the Atlantic Monthly review of "Great Expectations", September 1861 issue.

    July 9, 2009

  • As a verb ...?

    July 17, 2009

  • I've never hear wanton used as a verb, how odd!

    September 17, 2009

  • Cf. cheesytoes.

    September 24, 2009