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

  • adj. Immoral or unchaste; lewd.
  • adj. Gratuitously cruel; merciless.
  • adj. Marked by unprovoked, gratuitous maliciousness; capricious and unjust: wanton destruction.
  • adj. Unrestrainedly excessive: wanton extravagance; wanton depletion of oil reserves.
  • adj. Luxuriant; overabundant: wanton tresses.
  • adj. Frolicsome; playful.
  • adj. Undisciplined; spoiled.
  • adj. Obsolete Rebellious; refractory.
  • intransitive v. To act, grow, or move in a wanton manner; be wanton.
  • transitive v. To waste or squander extravagantly.
  • n. One who is immoral, lewd, or licentious.
  • n. One that is playful or frolicsome.
  • n. One that is undisciplined or spoiled.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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 WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. lewd or lascivious woman
  • v. spend wastefully
  • v. behave extremely cruelly and brutally
  • adj. occurring without motivation or provocation
  • v. indulge in a carefree or voluptuous way of life
  • v. become extravagant; indulge (oneself) luxuriously
  • adj. casual and unrestrained in sexual behavior
  • v. waste time; spend one's time idly or inefficiently
  • v. engage in amorous play


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

Middle English wantowen : wan-, not, lacking (from Old Englishs) + towen, past participle of teen, to bring up (from Old English tēon, to lead, draw).

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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  • Cf. cheesytoes.

    September 24, 2009

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

    September 17, 2009

  • As a verb ...?

    July 17, 2009

  • "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

  • Citation on jointure.

    September 12, 2008

  • Wanton waste of time

    June 9, 2008

  • June 17, 2007

  • As in wanton hussy.

    May 7, 2007

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

    January 7, 2007

  • And my favorite type of Chinese soup :)

    January 6, 2007

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

    January 6, 2007