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From Middle English wrongnesse, equivalent to wrong +‎ -ness.



wrongness (usually uncountable, plural wrongnesses)

  1. The quality of being wrong; error or fault.
    Synonym: wrength
    • 1917 April, Jack London, chapter IV, in Jerry of the Islands, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company, →OCLC, page 47:
      Often, on the plantation, he had seen the white men take drinks. But there was something somehow different in the manner of Borckman’s taking a drink. Jerry was aware, vaguely, that there was something surreptitious about it. What was wrong he did not know, yet he sensed the wrongness and watched suspiciously.
    • 1961, C. S. Lewis, chapter 3, in A Grief Observed[1], London: Faber & Faber, published 1964, page 30:
      It’s not true that I’m always thinking of H. Work and conversation make that impossible. But the times when I’m not are perhaps my worst. For then, though I have forgotten the reason, there is spread over everything a vague sense of wrongness, of something amiss.
  2. Wrong or reprehensible things or actions.
    • 1905, [George] Bernard Shaw, “Major Barbara”, in John Bull’s Other Island and Major Barbara: Also How He Lied to Her Husband, London: Archibald Constable & Co., published 1907, →OCLC, Act I, page 197:
      But your father didnt exactly do wrong things: he said them and thought them: that was what was so dreadful. He really had a sort of religion of wrongness. Just as one doesnt mind men practising immorality so long as they own that they are in the wrong by preaching morality; so I couldnt forgive Andrew for preaching immorality while he practised morality.
    • 1937, Elizabeth Sparks, Interview transcribed in Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves, Washington: Library of Congress, 1941, Volume 17, Virginia Narratives,[2]
      Old Massa done so much wrongness I couldn’t tell yer all of it.