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From Middle English wrong, from Old English wrang (wrong, twisted, uneven), from Old Norse rangr, *vrangr (crooked, wrong), from Proto-Germanic *wrangaz (crooked, twisted, turned awry), from Proto-Indo-European *werḱ-, *werǵ-, *wrengʰ- (to twist, weave, tie together), from Proto-Indo-European *wer- (to turn, bend). Cognate with Scots wrang (wrong), Danish vrang (wrong, crooked), Swedish vrång (perverse, distorted), Icelandic rangur (wrong), Dutch wrang (bitter, sour) and the name of the mythic Old Frisian city of Rungholt (crooked wood). More at wring.



wrong (comparative more wrong or wronger, superlative most wrong or wrongest)

  1. Incorrect or untrue.
    Some of your answers were correct, and some were wrong.
    • 1592, William Shakespeare, Richard III, Act II, Scene I:
      Among this princely heap, if any here / By false intelligence or wrong surmise / Hold me a foe []
  2. Asserting something incorrect or untrue.
    You're wrong: he's not Superman at all.
  3. Immoral, not good, bad.
    It is wrong to lie.
  4. Improper; unfit; unsuitable.
    A bikini is the wrong thing to wear on a cold day.
  5. Not working; out of order.
    Something is wrong with my cellphone.
    Don't cry, honey. Tell me what's wrong.
  6. Designed to be worn or placed inward; as, the wrong side of a garment or of a piece of cloth.
  7. (obsolete) Twisted; wry.
    a wrong nose
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Wyclif Bible (Leviticus xxi. 19) to this entry?)

Usage notes[edit]

  • The single-word comparative and superlative forms wronger and wrongest are no longer in common use, except humorously; rather, the locutions “more wrong” and “most wrong” are preferred.
  • When wrong is used attributively, before a noun, the noun is usually treated as definite, using the article the; hence, for example, one says, “I dialed the wrong number”, “he gave the wrong answer”, and “she took the wrong approach”, even though there are many possible wrong numbers, answers, and approaches, of which only one was dialed, given, or taken.


Derived terms[edit]



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


  • 2007 January 3, Ken Miller, “The Collapse of Intelligent Design: Will the next Monkey Trial be in Ohio?”, Case Western University, Strosacker Auditorium
    that statement is wrong. Now that's not an incidental statement, that is the heart and soul of the Intelligent Design argument, and in this case it turns out to be wrong. Now it's even wronger than that [laughter] because it turns out that not only do these proteins make up the Type-III Secretory Apparatus but almost every protein in the bacerial flagellum is strongly homologous to proteins that have other functions elsewhere in the cell.


wrong (comparative more wrong, superlative most wrong)

  1. (informal) In a way that isn't right; incorrectly, wrongly.
    I spelled several names wrong in my address book.