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Two boys were charged with wanton and needless destruction of school property. Police, who said that the boys had no motive but acted simply out of boredom, described their groundless actions as wanton. This wanton disregard for public property upset most of the people in our small town, who were unused to acts of senseless and unprovoked vandalism.

Quiz: What is an example of a wanton act?

  • A protester who is about to disrupt a speech.
  • A high-school prank that’s discovered and stopped.
  • A hateful and deadly crime against an innocent person.

Memory Hook

Wanton Wonton Soup Wonton soup hates me. Every time I get wonton soup at a restaurant it spills for no reason. This wanton wonton soup is very inconsiderate to my clothing and to my hungry stomach!


  • The ability to see beauty is the beginning of our moral sensibility. What we believe is beautiful we will not wantonly destroy. — Reverend Sean Parker Dennison Reverend sean parker dennison
  • In the spirit of vacuuming up biological misdeeds, I must come clean: my pen’s initial intent was to slam society for its wanton gluttony. —Newsweek
  • The complaint accuses the hotel’s owners and operator of 'wanton and reckless' acts and 'complete disregard the health, safety and well-being' of the employees. —USA Today
  • The public is willing to forgive many things of its celebrities — especially those with electrifying gifts — but wanton cruelty is pretty far down the list. —USA Today

Word Ingredients

wan lessen
ton brought up

One who is “brought up” incorrectly becomes “lessened” in proper discipline or behavioral quality, and hence acts in wanton ways.

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Word Constellation


Word Variants

wantonness n cruelty; unjustified mercilessness