Skip to main content
Select Source:

Wrong

WRONG

A violation, by one individual, of another individual's legal rights.

The idea of rights suggests the opposite idea of wrongs, for every right is capable of being violated. For example, a right to receive payment for goods sold implies a wrong on the part of the person who owes, but does not make payment. In the most general point of view, the law is intended to establish and maintain rights, yet in its everyday application, the law must deal with rights and wrongs. The law first fixes the character and definition of rights, and then seeks to secure these rights by defining wrongs and devising the means to prevent these wrongs or provide for their redress.

The criminal law is charged with preventing and punishing public wrongs. Public wrongs are violations of public rights and duties that affect the whole community.

A private wrong, also called a civil wrong, is a violation of public or private rights that injures an individual and consequently is subject to civil redress or compensation. A civil wrong that is not based on breach of contract is a tort. Torts include assault, battery, libel, slander, intentional infliction of mental distress, and damage to property. The same act or omission that makes a tort may also be a breach of contract, but it is the negligence, not the breaking of the contract, that is the tort. For example, if a lawyer is negligent in representing his client, the lawyer may be sued both for malpractice, which is a tort, and for breach of the attorney-client contract.

The word wrongful is attached to numerous types of injurious conduct. For example, wrongful death is a type of lawsuit brought on behalf of a deceased person's beneficiaries that alleges that the death was attributable to the willful or negligent conduct of another. However, even in these special contexts, the words wrong, wrongful, and wrongfully do not sharply delineate the exact nature of the wrongness. Their presence merely signifies that something bad has occurred.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Wrong." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Encyclopedia.com. 11 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Wrong." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 11, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/law/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wrong

"Wrong." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Retrieved December 11, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/law/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wrong

wrong

wrong / ng/ • adj. 1. not correct or true: that is the wrong answer. ∎  mistaken: I was wrong about him being on the yacht that evening. ∎  unsuitable or undesirable: they asked all the wrong questions. ∎  in a bad or abnormal condition; amiss: something was wrong with the pump. 2. unjust, dishonest, or immoral: they were wrong to take the law into their own hands it was wrong of me to write you such an angry note. • adv. in an unsuitable or undesirable manner or direction: what am I doing wrong? ∎  with an incorrect result: she guessed wrong. • n. an unjust, dishonest, or immoral action: I have done you a great wrong. ∎  Law a breach, by commission or omission, of one’s legal duty. ∎ Law an invasion of right to the damage or prejudice of another. • v. [tr.] act unjustly or dishonestly toward (someone): please forgive me these things and the people I have wronged. ∎  mistakenly attribute bad motives to; misrepresent: perhaps I wrong him. PHRASES: get someone wrong misunderstand someone, esp. by falsely imputing malice. go down the wrong way (of food) enter the windpipe instead of the gullet. go wrong develop in an undesirable way. in the wrong responsible for a quarrel, mistake, or offense.DERIVATIVES: wrong·er n. wrong·ly adv. wrong·ness n.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"wrong." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 11 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wrong." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 11, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wrong-0

"wrong." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved December 11, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wrong-0

wrong

wrong (perh.) †crooked, twisted OE.; deviating from equity or the right XIII; incorrect, erroneous XIV. Late OE. wrang, wrong — ON. *wrangr, rangr awry, unjust = MLG. wrangh sour, tart, MDu. wrangh bitter, hostile (Du. wrang acid), rel. to WRING.
Hence wrong adv. XIII; sb. that which is wrong, unjust, or immoral XI; vb. XIV. wrongful, wrongly (-LY2) XIV.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"wrong." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 11 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wrong." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 11, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wrong-1

"wrong." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved December 11, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wrong-1

wrong

wrongalong, belong, bong, chaise longue, dong, Geelong, gong, Guangdong, Haiphong, Heilong, Hong Kong, Jong, King Kong, long, mah-jong, Mao Zedong, Mekong, nong, pong, prolong, prong, sarong, Shillong, song, souchong, strong, thong, throng, tong, Vietcong, wrong •billabong • dingdong • Wollongong •Chittagong • headlong • livelong •sidelong • lifelong • oblong • oolong •singalong • furlong • pingpong •Armstrong • headstrong • part song •plainsong • evensong • singsong •swansong • birdsong • biltong •diphthong

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"wrong." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 11 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wrong." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 11, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wrong

"wrong." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved December 11, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wrong