Definition of wrong in English:


Pronunciation /rôNG/ /rɔŋ/

See synonyms for wrong

Translate wrong into Spanish


  • 1Not correct or true; incorrect.

    ‘that is the wrong answer’
    • ‘The experimenter records whether that answer was correct or wrong.’
    • ‘If the answer is wrong, the computer says the same and gives the correct answer.’
    • ‘Instead of correcting the wrong bits I should have just thrown the whole analogy back at him.’
    • ‘A correct answer wins six points, but a wrong answer loses the team five points.’
    • ‘Some of you made some correct assumptions and some wrong ones.’
    • ‘He reacted to Newton's paper by claiming that what was original in the paper was wrong and what was correct in the paper was stolen from him.’
    • ‘The reader wants to know what factual material was wrong and what the true fact is.’
    • ‘My recollection is that the procedural history was this - I will stand corrected if I am wrong.’
    • ‘In certain cases the customer, rather than the bank, is interested in having the wrong entry corrected.’
    • ‘He had to state that it was only half right, and the half he said was correct, was wrong.’
    • ‘Everything was dealing with people, and no right and wrong answers, and no scripts.’
    • ‘There is, after all, a right and a wrong answer which means that the kind of fine judgements that only come with maturity are not required.’
    • ‘Max has a more hysteric method of asking, then screaming when I give the wrong answer.’
    • ‘I told her that no, every time I check things over, I change right answers into wrong ones.’
    • ‘The argument never ends because there isn't a right or wrong answer.’
    • ‘Sometimes one of us got the wrong answer, sometimes the other.’
    • ‘It was the last quarter, and I was going through my trig homework, quickly writing down answers that were probably wrong.’
    • ‘There is only one right answer and everything else is a wrong answer, only black and white.’
    • ‘After a moment he realized that and tried to fix it, but he still managed to get the wrong answer.’
    • ‘Both babies were tagged properly and put into the correct cots but the wrong baby was picked up.’
    incorrect, mistaken, in error, erroneous, inaccurate, not accurate, inexact, not exact, imprecise, invalid, untrue, false, fallacious, wide of the mark, off target
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1predicative Having judged incorrectly; mistaken.
      ‘I was wrong about him being on the yacht that evening’
      • ‘On this appeal the Claimant contends that the Judge was wrong and should not in any event have decided the point summarily.’
      • ‘Daunting as it nonetheless was, I was quite wrong to be so awed.’
      • ‘Can all of those people in the audience be wrong and those few judges be right?’
      • ‘Now I know it is wrong to give water to a person who has fainted or to cut open the wound to bleed out the poison from the body of a snakebite victim.’
      • ‘It would be wrong to perceive such a statement as defeatist.’
      • ‘I think she's right about the condition, wrong about the timing and causes.’
      • ‘So, looking back, I was wrong to have made many of the initial judgments I had on my first few days in Shanghai.’
      • ‘And of course, in our rush to judgment, we were wrong about the man from Cracow.’
      • ‘It is hard to see how the judge could be wrong in his interpretation.’
      • ‘Even his father came around, admitting he was wrong about business and becoming hugely proud of his successful son.’
      • ‘Another way of putting it is to say the court will not interfere unless the judge is plainly wrong.’
      • ‘Mr Justice Sullivan ruled yesterday that Tendring Council was wrong to give the go-ahead for the housing estate.’
      • ‘But it would be wrong to argue that all pirate radio in Ireland belonged to a tradition of rebellion.’
      • ‘While it would be wrong to say the two firms are desperate, it would also be wrong to say they are ambivalent about the outcome of their bid attempts.’
      • ‘It would also be wrong to assume that the entire financial - services sector speaks with a single voice on the best way forward.’
      • ‘But he added it would be wrong to assume at this stage that mobile phones were hazardous to human health.’
      • ‘Since they were wrong about that, what else could they have been wrong about?’
      • ‘Alex is wrong about this being a personal moral matter that does not affect public interest.’
      • ‘I now have to admit that I was wrong about this all being unfounded rumour.’
      • ‘The Attorney General submits that the Judge was wrong in respect of both rulings.’
      incorrect, mistaken, in error, erroneous, inaccurate, not accurate, inexact, not exact, imprecise, invalid, untrue, false, fallacious, wide of the mark, off target
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Unsuitable or undesirable.
      ‘they asked all the wrong questions’
      • ‘Shifting his imposing frame, his expression takes on a thunderous aspect, suggesting this is the wrong question to ask.’
      • ‘Perhaps we have, like Alice, simply been asking the wrong question.’
      • ‘A shadow seemed to pass over her face, and now it seemed that I had asked the wrong question.’
      • ‘Reading through them I decided that the bars in question were wrong for the lines of words.’
      • ‘Paul Eves can do no wrong in his portrayal of a security guard that always poses the wrong question at the wrong time.’
      • ‘I spent the rest of the morning asking all the right questions in all the wrong places.’
      • ‘This is exactly the kind of report you get when you ask the wrong question.’
      • ‘This is a natural question to ask, when your portfolio is in a mess, but unfortunately it's the wrong question.’
      • ‘Annoying as this can be when the questions come at the wrong time, it's great to have a child with an enquiring mind.’
      • ‘But you are sure to rub lots of people the wrong way by asking such questions.’
      • ‘In the circumstances this was clearly the wrong question because it produced an angry, questioning tirade.’
      • ‘Miss Goddard said Saleem had fallen in with the wrong crowd and did not ask any questions when he allowed them to use the vehicles.’
      • ‘It is simply a question of a country, perhaps unconsciously, following the wrong policies.’
      • ‘Midori tells me to not take it the wrong way but it's a question of my youth.’
      • ‘In my judgment the court did not apply the wrong definition of smoke, and so the second question posed should be answered in the negative.’
      • ‘And if what we think is true is based on wrong ideas or impressions, the results can be devastating.’
      • ‘This man is taking stick over these allegations but what worries me most is when some bloggers seem to think that if true, nothing is wrong.’
      • ‘I see the need for political process to correct things that are wrong in society.’
      • ‘As a coaching staff, we expect certain standards and I don't think it's wrong to demand those standards of the players.’
      • ‘But it is wrong to become a slave to food or to let it control you.’
      inappropriate, unsuitable, inapt, inapposite, undesirable
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3predicative In a bad or abnormal condition; amiss.
      ‘something was wrong with the pump’
      • ‘Doctors were unable to find out exactly what was wrong with Chloe and her condition remains undiagnosed.’
      • ‘Dairy products were blamed for virtually everything medically wrong with the younger generation.’
      • ‘She's seen innumerable specialists, all of whom have been baffled as to what could be wrong with her and then passing her on to someone else.’
      • ‘I don't know what's wrong with it and Anthony has yet to come look at it.’
      • ‘I spoke to a man tonight about what was wrong with the world.’
      • ‘You know, technology caught up with precisely what was wrong with the way that I used food.’
      • ‘Plainly, something is wrong with him, so it's no surprise that he's wearing a hospital bracelet.’
      • ‘What's wrong with people that they can't look each other in the eye with respect and without motivation?’
      • ‘After marrying in 1999, we had tried in vain for three years to conceive even though there was nothing really wrong with us.’
      • ‘Before a ball has been kicked, our festival of the beautiful game has already been depicted as an ugly carnival of all that is wrong with the world.’
      • ‘It's like your heart pains and you wonder what's wrong with human beings.’
      • ‘Litter on our streets, anti-social behaviour, dereliction - we all know what is wrong with our town.’
      • ‘This Christmas, which Matt spent on the Ivory Coast, a local boy got sick and nobody knew what was wrong with him.’
      • ‘Can anyone tell me what is wrong with that paragraph and why it is self-refuting?’
      • ‘It looks so plain you would think nothing was wrong with it!’
      • ‘What could be wrong with this non-carcinogenic, non-resource-wasting joy?’
      • ‘Some readers, undoubtedly, will ask what could be wrong with that scenario.’
      • ‘They have had him on an intravenous drip, and they need to try to diagnose exactly what is wrong with him.’
      • ‘The buzzers would go off in the night and when the nurses came to see what was wrong they would find the patients fast asleep.’
      • ‘He knew that something was wrong and never stopped to think about the dangers involved and that demonstrates what a brave man he was.’
      amiss, awry, out of order, not right, faulty, defective, unsatisfactory, incorrect, inappropriate
      View synonyms
  • 2Unjust, 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’
    • ‘If it's wrong to extol virtue, it should be wrong to condemn a vice like hypocrisy.’
    • ‘It is wrong to make it illegal to lower the cost of tax and lower the cost to seniors.’
    • ‘Mr. Kelly added that it would be wrong to condemn the lack of a parade and then do nothing about it.’
    • ‘Firstly it is illegal and also morally wrong to obtain copies of music or film or other entertainment without some form of payment.’
    • ‘Many people said it was wrong to condemn future workers to worse pension arrangements.’
    • ‘The uncompromisable principle is that it is always wrong to do evil in order that good may result.’
    • ‘The truth about alcohol is that it is sinful and wrong to consume alcohol in any quantity for recreational purposes.’
    • ‘It is wrong to illegally download, but the answer cannot be jail.’
    • ‘The stepmother in the Snow White tale was evil, and she was wrong to try to deceive and kill Snow White.’
    • ‘They feel that it's wrong to privilege scientific over other types of knowledge.’
    • ‘He said it was wrong to expect the Council to always clean up such areas but it was also wrong to expect the residents to put up with the problem.’
    • ‘It is wrong to ask clubs to play games without their county players.’
    • ‘Mr Clarke's department admitted it was wrong to name and shame the city as somewhere that had not passed on government cash for schools.’
    • ‘It is quite wrong to try to drive farmers down this avenue.’
    • ‘The judge told Burnley Crown Court the defendant was not his normal self when he committed the offences and it would be wrong to send him to prison.’
    • ‘However, it is important that children are given the message that it is wrong to bully, and that if they are being bullied they must tell an adult.’
    • ‘So, it would be wrong to give someone that hasn't worked for the award an award.’
    • ‘They also use the argument that if we didn't oppose something else, we are wrong to oppose this.’
    • ‘Kelly was completely responsible for his own plight, and was wrong to be a whistleblower.’
    • ‘There may occasionally be a situation where a decision is ethically correct but morally wrong.’
    illegal, against the law, unlawful, illicit, indictable, lawless, lawbreaking, criminal, delinquent, felonious, dishonest, dishonourable, corrupt
    View synonyms


  • 1In an unsuitable or undesirable manner or direction.

    ‘what am I doing wrong?’
    • ‘The 757 was intended to replace the 727, but for some reason Boeing got its market research wrong.’
    • ‘Nothing like this has ever happened to her, she just doesn't understand what she did wrong and why somebody would want to hurt her.’
    • ‘They're nasty and confusing and I'm obsessed that if I fill them in wrong they'll put me in prison or something.’
    • ‘Now, if anybody should know whether we did wrong or not he should!’
    • ‘He is said to have told his parents he had not done anything wrong and now faced returning to Britain to try to clear his name.’
    • ‘Also note if you do not know, many civil servants are patriotic and would prefer to be corrected wherever they do wrong.’
    • ‘With CBT I work hard on the things I am doing wrong and try to correct them, but this I can't justify to myself.’
    • ‘Just as the words left her mouth she knew she had said something wrong she could see it in his eyes.’
    • ‘Perhaps the night felt so strange and wrong for that very reason.’
    • ‘The eight-year-old has done little wrong in his two wins and, with Tony Dobbin on board, another strike looks on the cards.’
    • ‘The DNR showed me pictures of some markers that had been put up wrong on one of the trails.’
    • ‘A herd of shoppers blocked my entrance into the parking lot, starting me off all wrong.’
    • ‘I then proceeded to broil the first batch as I had the setting all wrong.’
    1. 1.1With an incorrect result.
      ‘she guessed wrong’
      • ‘We guessed wrong both times, but that's the way it is sometimes.’
      • ‘If you guess right you will appear to be a genius, if you guess wrong you will look foolish.’
      • ‘ChoicePoint got his middle name wrong and reported that there was a bench warrant for his arrest in Arizona.’
      • ‘I just feel I need to get it very right because if you get it wrong you could offend a lot of people.’
      • ‘She got it wrong on the restart, a little mistake but with big consequences for everybody else.’
      • ‘However, this is yet further evidence of ISPs getting their sums wrong and getting customers to pay for the mistakes.’
      • ‘Boris made the mistake of getting a few facts wrong in a controversial article that overall made an important point.’
      • ‘Unfortunately that was when I came to know that I had the train name wrong.’
      • ‘If you get one area wrong, it impacts on the rest of the brand.’
      • ‘Update I think I got it a little bit wrong - technology can confuse me sometimes, folks.’
      • ‘It may seem hard to credit, but if a serious journalist gets a fact wrong it hurts.’
      • ‘I tried spelling it maybe 16 different ways; they all look wrong, and now I'm in a foaming rage.’
      • ‘Perhaps they won't come to it with an open mind at all and will be angry that I got it all wrong.’
      • ‘After further review of the matter, I stick to my belief that the court got this one wrong.’
      • ‘Unlike Binet, Piaget came to believe that the key to understanding children's cognitive development was not which questions children got wrong, but how they got them wrong.’
      • ‘The artist said the names were spelled correctly on her sketches, but she got them wrong as she was doing the piece.’
      • ‘Courtney (J Rockwell's wife) was sitting next to me and she and I kept getting each answer right while the actual contestants kept getting them wrong.’
      • ‘But authors pride themselves on getting things right and hate it when they get them wrong.’
      • ‘Somehow I don't think Tolstoy was interested in the Falklands… And the brainless morons kept getting them wrong - even the ones that had been answered correctly in previous rounds!’
      • ‘But jealous bullies made his life hell, calling him a ‘scab’ and a ‘traitor’ and yawning if he answered questions right and clapping if he got them wrong.’
      incorrectly, wrongly, inaccurately, erroneously, mistakenly
      View synonyms


  • 1An unjust, dishonest, or immoral action.

    ‘I have done you a great wrong’
    • ‘And there will be, inevitably, and quite immorally, an attempt to obscure the historical wrongs and the injustices that lie behind the firestorms.’
    • ‘Both wrongs also constituted a criminal offence.’
    • ‘I cannot see how it is possible to right the wrong of murder or another crime with killing someone.’
    • ‘At the heart of the business of being a writer, I assumed - apart from the necessity to earn a living - was an urge to right wrongs, to expose injustice.’
    • ‘Isn't their job to advise their political bosses against wrongs?’
    • ‘Maybe that will be the only time that these people will realise they have done a grievous wrong.’
    • ‘However we may feel about the rights and wrongs of their politics, it's important that we respect the name change.’
    • ‘People unavoidably pay a collective price for the misdeeds and wrongs of their leaders.’
    • ‘This Government recognises that putting right these grievances, acknowledging wrongs, and providing redress is a necessary phase of our history and of moving forward.’
    • ‘This system is supposed to consider issues like fault and blame because it is designed to alleviate individual wrongs, not social grievances.’
    • ‘Each weblog we visit, the owner - myself included - pontificates on all the wrongs and evils of the day.’
    • ‘The unequal distribution of wealth, the increase in populations and grievances over past wrongs are still with us.’
    • ‘Crimes are wrongs, not just against the victims, but also against society.’
    • ‘They sought with the assistance of journalists to make public the wrongs which they allegedly suffered.’
    • ‘And there was much debate surrounding the rights and wrongs of it being funded by private finance.’
    • ‘He has publicly denounced all the wrongs that were levelled on him.’
    • ‘The new era of political correctness has seen a succession of apologies for past wrongs.’
    • ‘Forgiveness is the act of setting someone free from an obligation to you that is a result of a wrong done against you.’
    • ‘There may be many good developments during the present regime; but to attribute all wrongs to previous regimes is not correct.’
    • ‘Friends and relatives can forgive, and sometimes do, but they are forgiving the wrong done to them only.’
    misdeed, bad deed, bad act, bad action, offence, injury, crime, unlawful act, illegal act, violation, infringement, infraction, transgression, peccadillo, sin
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Law A breach, by commission or omission, of one's legal duty.
      ‘Equitable compensation is available to redress equitable wrongs such as breach of fiduciary duty on much the same basis as compensatory damages would be available in a torts case.’
      • ‘The second group of cases within this head of equitable jurisdiction is far more important: injunctions to restrain legal wrongs.’
    2. 1.2Law An invasion of right to the damage or prejudice of another.
      ‘Trial lawyers representing plaintiff rights can sue and win compensation and punitive money damages to redress the wrongs done to their clients.’
      • ‘Mr. Daiches further submitted that I should follow the common law in not awarding damages for future wrongs.’
      • ‘The wrong for which user damages compensate a claimant is the defendant's use for his own benefit of the goods.’
      • ‘The legal system calls these tort reforms, a branch of the law which determines what someone can recover in damages for wrongs that someone else has done to them.’
      • ‘Again, aggravated damages must arise from an independent actionable wrong.’

transitive verb

[with object]
  • 1Act unjustly or dishonestly toward.

    ‘please forgive me these things and the people I have wronged’
    • ‘Jules was capable of getting very aggressive towards people who wronged her and the people close to her.’
    • ‘If a citizen is wronged by any party, he or she can count on it that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights will protect him and justice will prevail.’
    • ‘They act with anger towards those who they feel have wronged them.’
    • ‘When a perpetrator wrongs a person, she, the wronged party, typically has a personal reactive attitude of resentment.’
    • ‘Others admit they were trying to punish a family member or significant other who they felt had wronged them.’
    • ‘She had been wronged as had been her family and she would make sure that her son got the justice he deserved.’
    • ‘But now I tell you do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you.’
    • ‘They are not wronging the owners of the stores; on the contrary, the owners of the stores have wronged them over the years by restricting their access to the goods they covet and to which they believe they have a right.’
    • ‘When he feels somebody is wronging his client, he jumps in front of a microphone.’
    • ‘I resent it when I'm wronged and I'm protective of those I care for.’
    • ‘If I have wronged anyone in this way in the past, I am sorry for it.’
    • ‘Let us extend our hands even to those who've wronged us.’
    • ‘Some people have told us that managers get promoted, or they get transferred, when they do things which are wrong, and the person who has been wronged is left to suffer.’
    • ‘I've never told the two people I believe I've wronged the most how sorry I am’
    • ‘Never forget that you a great debt to anyone whose ancestors may have been wronged by some distant relative of your ancestors.’
    • ‘In the Ancient Near East when a person felt he was wronged it was his obligation to seek personal justice by retaliating in kind.’
    • ‘While both sides claim to have been wronged, Novak was hopeful that the campaign would provide an open forum for debate.’
    • ‘It is never easy to swallow your pride when you feel you have been wronged.’
    • ‘Any individual is entitled to criticise someone who has wronged them; the libel laws are there to prevent abuse.’
    • ‘In your mind's eye, visualize someone who has hurt or wronged you.’
    1. 1.1Mistakenly attribute bad motives to; misrepresent.
      ‘perhaps I wrong him’
      • ‘Typically, people who feel wronged by the media sue for libel.’
      • ‘Because this is a novel, Glass can sketch nasty portraits of those close to him, all the while explaining how sorry he is that he wronged them.’
      • ‘Efforts are being made to allow ordinary citizens a more prompt and accessible redress where they feel they were wronged in a newspaper report.’
      malign, misrepresent, do a disservice to, do an injustice to, dishonour, impugn, vilify, defame, slander, libel, denigrate, insult
      View synonyms


    get someone wrong
    • Misunderstand someone, especially by falsely imputing malice.

      ‘now, don't get me wrong, my fellow players are a great bunch of people’
      • ‘Don't get us wrong: we are happy to do the vaccinations, but we must be resourced.’
      • ‘Don't get us wrong - Phoenix Nights was funny while it lasted.’
      • ‘Don't get us wrong, some of our best friends are engineers but a transit system is more than a collection of vehicles and schedules.’
      • ‘Don't get me wrong, this is not me talking, I am just saying what his critics have said over the years.’
      • ‘Don't get me wrong: these are all people working in the game I love and for whom I have the greatest respect.’
      • ‘Don't get me wrong: the best of these places still offer stunning terrain.’
      • ‘Don't get me wrong: I still think that the miners did not deserve their fate.’
      • ‘Don't get me wrong, this is a nicely written and well researched work.’
      • ‘Don't get me wrong, there are other sports doing great things and Rugby Union for one is a prime example.’
      • ‘Don't get me wrong here, planting trees is a very noble pursuit, and should be encouraged.’
    get hold of the wrong end of the stick
    • Misunderstand something.

    in the wrong
    • Responsible for a quarrel, mistake, or offense.

      ‘who was in the wrong?’
      • ‘When I have tried to point out the cycle track I have been verbally abused even though they are in the wrong.’
      • ‘Few would object to paying a fine if in the wrong, but when people have paid and paid again, it becomes a violation.’
      • ‘So in his world, it will be me that is in the wrong for swearing at him.’
      • ‘It's very easy to point the finger and accuse a famous person of being in the wrong.’
      • ‘The newcomers will be in the wrong if they enforce their negative characteristics on the hosts.’
      • ‘Even if the entire country thinks they are in the wrong, there's nothing anyone can do about it.’
      • ‘I will happily stand up in court in any action you take against the store and say that your child was in the wrong.’
      • ‘Last year a number of players were sent off in the wrong and they did not get justice.’
      • ‘They accepted that their athletes were in the wrong and deserved to be punished.’
      • ‘Both of them think that the other is in the wrong, so it ends in a cold standoff.’
    do someone wrong
    • Treat someone unjustly.

      ‘he sought revenge against those who had done him wrong’
      • ‘Bombarded with stories about unscrupulous corporate executives and the employees they done wrong, workers begin to gaze warily at their own managers.’
      • ‘Forget tearjerkers and 'He done me wrong' flicks.’
      • ‘He hasn't done me wrong so far.’
      • ‘I have a terrible nail-biting habit, and constantly bite and pick at them as if they done me wrong.’
      • ‘One day you will no longer care - much - that they both did you wrong.’
      • ‘She isn't locked into the past either, where she's haunted by ghosts of ex-lovers who did her wrong.’
      • ‘She is a woman who lives to kill for justice and to have her revenge against a man who did her wrong.’
      • ‘What was even worse was hearing women thank their doctors, who, in my opinion, had really done them wrong.’
      • ‘In this difficult environment, one would expect Irish artists to be spending most of their time writing angry lyrics about how the record industry done them wrong before hanging up their guitars and putting on interview suits.’
      • ‘Wickham also says that he will not run away from Darcy because he has no reason to be afraid since Darcy is the one who has done him wrong.’
    on the wrong side of
    • 1Out of favor with.

      • ‘she knew not to get on the wrong side of him’
    • 2Somewhat more than (a specified age)

      • ‘he cheerfully admits he is the wrong side of fifty’
    go wrong
    • 1Make a mistake.

      ‘The big area where I personally went wrong was in estimating GDP growth.’
      • ‘But in the meantime education and information initiatives would be introduced to let people know where they were going wrong.’
      • ‘I don't know where I've gone wrong.’
      • ‘I'm not happy with this - I've gone wrong somewhere, but I don't have time to explore it right now.’
      • ‘Can either of you point out where he's gone wrong?’
      • ‘Deciding we must have gone wrong somewhere, we rode all the way back.’
      • ‘Let me tell you where you went wrong.’
      • ‘After the exam don't spend endless time criticising yourself for where you think you went wrong.’
      • ‘Finding out where you went wrong is crucial, but may not be easy.’
      • ‘I told him to stay on the motorway until we got near Warwick but after half an hour he went wrong again.’
      1. 1.1(of a device) malfunction; develop a fault.
      2. 1.2Develop in an undesirable way.
        ‘the government has ordered an inquiry to ascertain what went wrong’
        • ‘He must be tearing his hair out right now because the team are going through one of those spells where everything that can go wrong, is going wrong.’
        • ‘If things are going wrong, we need to know that they are going wrong, so we can put them right.’
        • ‘She had a great turn of phrase and sense of humour and could see the funny side even when things went wrong.’
        • ‘Now, as an inquiry takes place into what went wrong, it is vital to ensure that nothing like this occurs again.’
        • ‘Everything always went wrong, and they never had any money to do the things they wanted.’
        • ‘Now they are performing a deconstruction of the chase and trying to find out what went wrong.’
        • ‘However, things all went wrong when she helped the attendant to push the car out of the way and into a transformer.’
        • ‘The guy could not explain what went wrong because their account machinery was down.’
        • ‘You can look at six or seven line-outs and pinpoint one thing that went wrong in each of them.’
        • ‘As I tried to reach over and lift up the gate it crossed my mind that there might be a danger of me losing a finger if things went wrong.’
    two wrongs don't make a right
    • The fact that someone has done something unjust or dishonest is no justification for acting in a similar way.

      ‘The answers generally fell into two categories: The end justifies the means or two wrongs don't make a right.’
      • ‘‘What one forgets is that these prisoners have been victims too, and two wrongs don't make a right,’ Mr Ellis said.’
      • ‘There are other takeaways causing problems, but two wrongs don't make a right.’
      • ‘By this absurd reasoning, it was wrong to revolt against King George in the first place because we had to use force to get him out and, after all, two wrongs don't make a right, right?’
      • ‘As the saying goes, in this circumstance, two wrongs don't make a right, regardless of his assumptions about legal and fiduciary responsibilities.’
      • ‘Yeah, yeah, two wrongs don't make a right but I challenge anyone to witness the fear in the eyes of those poor kids and not feel a protective primeval urge to do something about it.’
      • ‘As parents, we teach our children not to retaliate and that two wrongs don't make a right.’
      • ‘I quite agree with the learned maestro that two wrongs don't make a right, but I do believe that the same decision should be given in both cases which as I have pointed out are identical, even if my decision was wrong.’
      • ‘I know that but two wrongs don't make a right but I just don't want to be a part of this anymore.’
      • ‘Even if it's the case that the people who download this are trying to get illegal files, two wrongs don't make a right.’
    do wrong
    • Commit an unjust, dishonest, or immoral act.

      ‘they admit she has done wrong, but believe the punishment is too harsh’
      • ‘We try to do good and we end up doing wrong.’
      • ‘The only real epiphany in the movie is the realization that we know right from wrong, and choose to do wrong anyway.’
      • ‘If it is true that we cannot do wrong without suffering wrong, we must brace for more grief to come.’
      • ‘Church courts usually gave out easier punishments to churchmen who had done wrong.’
      • ‘By calling him a celebrity you almost make us feel that we need to do wrong in order to be recognised.’
      • ‘Criminals need to understand that if they do wrong they will be caught, they will be punished and it will be an unpleasant experience.’
      • ‘In both cases, randomly selected groups of citizens are asked to impose punishment on those found to have done wrong.’
      • ‘We have done wrong and we ask you to forgive us.’
      • ‘If you suffer because you've done wrong, you deserve it - acting like a martyr when you're reaping what you've sown does you no credit.’
      • ‘You have done wrong, but in comparison to the very real evil that is sometimes revealed by prosecutors, your offending lies at the bottom of the scale.’
    wrong side out
    • Inside out.

    fall into the wrong hands
    • (of information or an object) be stolen, or be found by an unfriendly person.

      • ‘this is a private letter that fell into the wrong hands’
    go down the wrong way
    • (of food) enter the windpipe instead of the gullet.

      • ‘She said: ‘He said he had difficulty swallowing with the stroke and he said it was a bit of food that has gone down the wrong way.’’
      • ‘He said he thought the problem had been a bit of food going down the wrong way.’
      • ‘Feeding tubes are usually put in when a person can't swallow and will starve without assistance, and/or risk what's called aspiration pneumonia, which is when food goes down the wrong way and hits the lungs.’
      • ‘36-year-old Sam Wright was enjoying a meal at a restaurant in Antrim, Northern Ireland, when a piece of bread went down the wrong way.’
      • ‘He was alone in front of the television with his two pet dogs when the snack apparently went down the wrong way, causing him to faint and hit his head on the ground.’
      • ‘I fiddled with my knife until it hit an empty glass and went: ‘Clonggggg!’ and Roger's first mouthful of fizzy water went down the wrong way.’
      • ‘I swallowed eagerly and choked as it went down the wrong way.’
      • ‘It hit me suddenly like a punch in the gut, some water went down the wrong way and I doubled over coughing it back up.’
      • ‘Adam, who had just popped a piece of the takoyaki into his mouth, almost choked on it as it went down the wrong way.’
      • ‘I mean, I was trying not to swallow it, and it was going down the wrong way and I really thought for a second I was going to die right there.’


Late Old English wrang, from Old Norse rangr ‘awry, unjust’; related to wring.