95 Negative Words That Start With W (With Definition & Examples)

Are you looking for a list of negative words that start with “W”?

From the whisper of ‘woe’ to the weight of ‘wretched,’ these words weave a tapestry of the English language’s most woeful and wicked expressions.

Whether you’re a word wizard looking to expand your vocabulary or simply curious about the gloomier corners of communication, this post promises to provide a wealth of worrisome and wily words that will add a dramatic flair to your linguistic arsenal.

So brace yourself for a wild ride through the woes and whispers of the English lexicon!

10 Common Negative Words That Start With W (Definitions and Examples)

1. Waffle

To speak or write evasively by providing vague answers or changing topics without making a clear point, often to avoid commitment or to fill space.

Example: The politician waffled throughout the interview, never directly answering the tough questions about policy changes, leaving the audience frustrated with the lack of clarity.

2. Wail

Emitting a prolonged, high-pitched cry of pain, grief, or anger, often reflecting intense emotional turmoil.

Example: After hearing the tragic news, she wailed inconsolably, her cries echoing through the sombre halls of the hospital.

3. Wrong

Not correct or truthful, often referring to actions, decisions, or statements that are mistaken, unethical, or unjust.

Example: He knew it was wrong to lie about his qualifications, but desperation drove him to falsify his resume.

4. Wasteful

Involving or characterized by excessive use or squandering of resources, particularly those that are finite or valuable, without proper consideration for conservation or efficiency.


  • The corporation’s wasteful practices, including unnecessary printing and extravagant business trips, sparked outrage among environmental activists who demanded more sustainable operations.
  • The company’s wasteful spending on unnecessary gadgets strained the budget, putting essential projects at risk.

5. Wheedle

To use flattery or coaxing to persuade someone to do something or give one something.


  • He tried to wheedle extra dessert out of his mother, complimenting her cooking.
  • He attempted to wheedle his way out of trouble by flattering the police officer.

6. Wickedness

The quality of being morally wrong or evil, characterized by actions or intentions that are harmful, deceitful, or nasty, often showing a disregard for the well-being of others.

Example: The villain’s wickedness was evident in his plot to overthrow the kingdom, betraying those who trusted him and causing untold suffering to achieve his ambitions.

7. Woe

Woe: Deep sorrow, distress, or misery, often resulting from a significant loss or a series of unfortunate events.

Example: The woe felt by the community in the wake of the disaster was palpable, with many struggling to come to terms with the scale of the loss.

8. Worry

To feel anxious or concerned about a real or imagined issue, often leading to prolonged stress or unease about potential outcomes.

Example: She couldn’t help but worry about her son’s safety as he embarked on his first solo trip abroad, her mind racing with all the things that could go wrong.

9. Wary

Exercising caution about possible dangers or problems; vigilant.

Example: Wary of strangers, the villagers were initially reluctant to accept the newcomers into their tight-knit community.

10. Weak

Lacking the power to perform physically demanding tasks; lacking physical strength or vigour.

Example: After the illness, she felt too weak even to climb the stairs, relying on others for assistance with daily activities.

List of Negative Words That Start With W (With Definitions and Usage Examples)

  1. Wayward: Describing difficult behaviour to predict or control, often due to a deliberate choice to act against what is expected or required, showing a tendency towards rebellion or deviation from the norm.
    • Example: The wayward student frequently skipped classes and disregarded school rules, much to the concern of his teachers, who saw potential in him.
  2. Wily: Characterized by cunning intelligence or deceitful cleverness, often used to describe someone who uses their skills in a manipulative or deceptive manner.
    • Example: The wily fox used its cunning to escape the traps set by the hunters, always staying one step ahead.
  3. Wearisome: Inducing feelings of boredom or exhaustion due to monotony, tedious repetition, or lengthiness, often making the experience difficult to endure.
    • Example: The wearisome lecture droned on for hours, with the monotone delivery and dense slides causing many in the audience to struggle to keep their eyes open.
  4. Wildness: The state of being untamed, uncontrollable, or lacking in discipline, often associated with nature or behaviour that deviates from societal norms.
    • Example: The wildness of the storm was awe-inspiring, showcasing nature’s untamed power as the wind howled and the waves crashed with relentless fury.
  5. Wince: A slight grimace or shrinking movement caused by pain or distress, often involuntary, reflecting a momentary reaction to a sharp discomfort.
    • Example: He couldn’t help but wince as the doctor stitched up the wound, the sharp sting interrupting his attempts to appear unaffected.
  6. Woebegone: Appearing sad or miserable, often to the point of eliciting sympathy, characterized by a forlorn or downtrodden appearance.
    • Example: The woebegone expression on the child’s face after losing his beloved toy tugged at the heartstrings of all who saw him.
  7. Woeful: Marked by great sorrow or distress, often used to describe situations, conditions, or events that are tragically unfortunate.
    • Example: The woeful tale of the shipwreck survivors, stranded on a deserted island for months, captured the imaginations of people around the world.
  8. Woefulness: The state of being filled with sorrow or melancholy, often to an extreme degree, reflecting a deep sense of despair or grief.
    • Example: The woefulness in her voice as she recounted the story of her family’s hardships conveyed a depth of emotion that words could scarcely capture.
  9. Worrisome: Causing anxiety or concern, often because of potential danger, difficulty, or uncertainty.
    • Example: The worrisome symptoms prompted him to seek medical advice, fearing that his condition might be more serious than he had initially thought.
  10. Worrywart: A person who worries excessively, often finding it difficult to relax or take things in stride, prone to anxiety over everyday matters.
    • Example: Known as the worrywart of the family, he would fret over every detail of the holiday plans, anxious to ensure that everything would go perfectly.
  11. Wrack: To cause extreme physical or mental pain, often used in reference to intense suffering or torment.
    • Example: The news of the betrayal wracked him with pain, the emotional turmoil proving almost too much to bear.
  12. Wrangle: To engage in a long, complicated dispute or argument, often marked by persistent disagreement and contention.
    • Example: The siblings would wrangle for hours over the smallest of issues, their competitive nature turning every discussion into a battle of wills.
  13. Wrath: Extreme anger, often with a desire for vengeance or punishment, reflecting a powerful emotional response to perceived injustice or wrongdoing.
    • Example: The wrath of the betrayed king knew no bounds; his furious decrees sent shockwaves through the court as he vowed to punish those responsible for the betrayal.
  14. Wrathful: Characterized by intense anger or fury, often looking to exact retribution or express vehement discontent.
    • Example: His wrathful outburst at the meeting surprised everyone, revealing the depth of his frustration with the ongoing issues.
  15. Wreak: To cause (something very harmful or damaging), often used in the context of havoc, destruction, or severe distress.
    • Example: The hurricane wreaked havoc on the coastal towns, leaving a trail of destruction that would take years to rebuild.
  16. Wreck: To severely damage or destroy, often used in relation to vehicles, structures, or other physical objects, but can also refer to the figurative destruction of plans, relationships, or wellbeing.
    • Example: The scandal wrecked his career almost overnight, turning him from a respected professional into a pariah.
  17. Wreckage: The remains of something badly damaged or destroyed, often used to describe the aftermath of disasters or accidents.
    • Example: Rescuers combed through the wreckage of the collapsed building, searching desperately for survivors amid the debris.
  18. Wrinkle: A small line or fold in something, especially fabric or skin, that is not normally present, often associated with ageing or stress on materials.
    • Example: She noticed new wrinkles appearing around her eyes, a reminder of the laughter and challenges that had marked her life’s journey.
  19. Wrongdoing: Illegal or immoral actions, often involving some form of unethical behaviour or misconduct.
    • Example: The investigation uncovered years of wrongdoing by the corporation, from bribery to environmental violations, shocking the public.
  20. Wrongful: Unjust or unfair, often used to describe actions or decisions not based on legal or moral rights, leading to harm or injustice.
    • Example: The wrongful accusation left her fighting to clear her name, a struggle that would consume much of her energy and resources.
  21. Wry: Showing a clever or ironic sense of humor, often in a way that expresses a degree of skepticism or dissatisfaction.
    • Example: His wry comment at the end of the meeting lightened the mood, injecting a bit of humor into the otherwise tense discussion.
  22. Wryness: The quality of being slightly ironic or amusing in a dry, understated way, often reflecting a form of subtle, sardonic humor.
    • Example: There was a wryness in her voice as she recounted her so-called ‘adventures’ in online dating, her anecdotes filled with humor and a touch of cynicism.
  23. Wrathful: Full of intense anger or fury, often in a way that seeks vengeance or punishment, reflecting an emotional state where rationality may be overshadowed by the desire to retaliate.
    • Example: The wrathful king, upon discovering the betrayal of his closest advisors, vowed to exact a severe punishment, his face contorted with rage as he promised retribution.
  24. Wretched: Describing a very unhappy or unfortunate state, often invoking pity or sympathy due to the severity of discomfort, misery, or distress experienced.
    • Example: The refugees’ wretched conditions in the overcrowded camp, lacking adequate food, water, and shelter, highlighted the urgent need for humanitarian aid.
  25. Wretchedness: The state of being unhappy, ill, or impoverished.
    • Example: The wretchedness of the refugees’ situation was heartbreakingly apparent.
  26. Wriggle: To twist and turn the body with quick, writhing movements, often in an attempt to escape from confinement or adjust to a more comfortable position, sometimes indicating discomfort or a desire to avoid a situation.
    • Example: The child tried to wriggle free from his mother’s grasp as she attempted to clean the mud off his face, giggling as he evaded her efforts.
  27. War: Engaging in or the state of armed conflict between nations, groups, or factions, characterized by violence, chaos, and significant human and material losses.
    • Example: The war tore through the countryside, leaving a trail of destruction and uprooting thousands of lives in its wake.
  28. Warily: Acting with caution or great care, especially in response to potential danger or risk.
    • Example: She stepped warily into the abandoned house, aware that the creaking floorboards could give away her presence at any moment.
  29. Warlike: Exhibiting a disposition toward aggression or conflict; prone to engage in war or battle.
    • Example: The warlike stance of the neighboring country raised tensions, prompting urgent diplomatic meetings to avoid escalation.
  30. Warp: To twist or bend something out of its original shape, typically resulting in distortion or misrepresentation.
    • Example: The intense heat caused the vinyl records to warp, ruining the cherished music collection.
  31. Warped: Distorted or twisted out of shape or alignment, often implying a departure from what is normal or expected.
    • Example: His judgment was warped by bitterness, leading him to make decisions that were neither fair nor rational.
  32. Waste: The act or process of using something carelessly, extravagantly, or to no purpose, leading to unnecessary loss.
    • Example: It was a waste of both time and resources to pursue the project without a clear objective.
  33. Wastrel: A person who spends resources foolishly and wastefully.
    • Example: Known as a wastrel, he squandered his inheritance on lavish parties and expensive cars, leaving little for his future.
  34. Wayward: Showing a tendency to stray from the straight or expected path or to behave unpredictably; not following any rules or guidance.
    • Example: The wayward youth, once a promising student, fell into a bad crowd, veering off the path his family had hoped for him.
  35. Weakling: A person considered to be physically weak or lacking in strength.
    • Example: Bullies targeted him, calling him a weakling, but they underestimated his resolve and determination.
  36. Weakness: The state or condition of lacking strength or vigor, either physically or in character.
    • Example: His inability to resist temptation was seen as a weakness, one that often led him into trouble.
  37. Weariness: Feeling or showing extreme tiredness, especially as a result of excessive exertion or lack of sleep.
    • Example: The weariness in her eyes spoke volumes about the sleepless nights spent caring for her sick child.
  38. Wan: Pale and giving the impression of illness or exhaustion.
    • Example: After weeks of overwork, her face looked wan and drawn.
  39. Whimsical: Acting in a capricious manner, often without obvious reason, leading to unpredictability.
    • Example: His whimsical decisions often frustrated his team, as they could never predict his next move.
  40. Whine: To complain in a feeble or petulant way.
    • Example: The child began to whine when he was told it was time to leave the playground.
  41. Whiplash: A sudden or violent change of direction or position, often leading to confusion or distress.
    • Example: The investors felt the whiplash of the market’s sudden downturn.
  42. Withdrawn: Not wanting to communicate with other people; socially detached and isolated.
    • Example: After the incident, she became withdrawn, spending most of her time alone.
  43. Wither: To become dry and shriveled, or to cause harm or damage to one’s confidence or hope.
    • Example: The unkind words caused her enthusiasm to wither away.
  44. Withhold: To refuse to give something that is due or expected.
    • Example: The company decided to withhold bonuses due to the economic downturn.
  45. Withstand: To bear or resist an adverse condition or situation without yielding.
    • Example: Only the strongest materials can withstand such high temperatures.
  46. Woe-begotten: Beset with woe; unfortunate or miserable.
    • Example: The woe-begotten tale of the old sailor spoke of lost love and endless regret.
  47. Wolfish: Resembling or characteristic of a wolf, often implying greed or ferocity.
    • Example: His wolfish appetite for power alarmed even his closest allies.
  48. Worn-out: Extremely tired; exhausted or used up completely.
    • Example: After the marathon, she felt completely worn out, unable to take another step.
  49. Worrisome: Causing anxiety or concern.
    • Example: The doctor’s news was worrisome, leading to sleepless nights.
  50. Wrathful: Full of or characterized by intense anger.
    • Example: The wrathful king vowed revenge against those who betrayed him.
  51. Wrenching: Causing mental or physical pain.
    • Example: The news of the tragedy was a wrenching blow to the community.
  52. Writhing: Making continual twisting, squirming movements or contortions of the body.
    • Example: He was writhing in pain on the ground after the accident.
  53. Wrongheaded: Stubbornly adhering to an opinion, purpose, or course, often despite reason or arguments.
    • Example: Despite clear evidence to the contrary, he remained wrongheaded in his conviction.
  54. Wearisome: Causing one to feel tired or bored, often due to being long, repetitive, or tedious.
    • Example: The wearisome journey through the desert tested the limits of their endurance, each day blending into the next.
  55. Weary: Feeling tired, especially due to excessive exertion or lack of sleep.
    • Example: Weary from his travels, he could barely muster the energy to unpack his bags upon returning home.
  56. Weasel: To escape a situation or evade a commitment by being sneaky or deceitful.
    • Example: He tried to weasel out of the agreement, using every loophole to avoid his responsibilities.
  57. Waylay: To stop or interrupt someone unexpectedly and use the opportunity to make demands or attack.
    • Example: The tourists were waylaid by bandits on their journey through the mountain pass.
  58. Wheedling: Employing flattery or coaxing to persuade someone to do something or give something.
    • Example: The wheedling tone of the salesman made her more determined to leave the store without making a purchase.
  59. Whittling: To gradually reduce something in size, amount, or extent by a small amount at a time.
    • Example: The constant demands on his time were whittling away his patience.
  60. Willful: Deliberately doing something contrary to what is right or desired, often with stubborn or intentional disregard for consequences.
    • Example: His willful disregard for the rules eventually led to his dismissal from the team.
  61. Winnowing: Sifting through something to remove what is undesirable or less useful.
    • Example: The process of winnowing out the less credible theories left them with only a few viable options.
  62. Wistful: Having or showing a feeling of vague or regretful longing.
    • Example: She gave a wistful look at the photos of her youth, yearning for simpler times.
  63. Waffle-Waffle: To continue speaking or writing in a long-winded manner without making much progress or coming to a clear point.
    • Example: The meeting dragged on with too much waffle-waffle, leaving everyone confused about the next steps.
  64. Wanion: Misfortune or woe, an archaic term seldom used in contemporary English but rich in literary value.
    • Example: In wanion, the old texts described the fate of those who dared defy the gods.
  65. War-weary: Exhausted or demoralized by the prolonged effects of conflict or warfare.
    • Example: The war-weary population yearned for peace and a return to normalcy after years of turmoil.
  66. Watchword: A word or phrase expressing a person’s or group’s core aim or belief, which can be negative if it encapsulates a cynical or pessimistic outlook.
    • Example: “Mistrust” became the watchword among the factions as alliances began to crumble.
  67. Waterlogged: Saturated with or full of water, often leading to a state of ruin or being unusable.
    • Example: The fields, waterlogged after weeks of rain, were unfit for planting.
  68. Wax Wane: To decrease in size, number, strength, or intensity, often leading to a diminished state.
    • Example: His enthusiasm for the project waxed and waned as obstacles continued to emerge.
  69. Wayfaring: Traveling on foot, often with the connotation of a difficult or wearying journey.
    • Example: The wayfaring travellers, lost and without provisions, faced the harsh wilderness with growing despair.
  70. Weigh Down: To burden or press down with weight or a metaphorical load, such as worries or responsibilities.
    • Example: She felt weighed down by the expectations placed upon her, struggling to find her path.
  71. Whittled Down: To reduce something in size, amount, or number by a gradual series of steps or by removing unnecessary parts.
    • Example: The list of suspects was whittled down through diligent detective work.
  72. Wild Goose Chase: A futile search or pursuit, wasting time and effort on something unattainable or nonexistent.
    • Example: Searching for the legendary treasure without a map was nothing more than a wild goose chase.
  73. Windbag: A person who talks at length but says little of value, often irritating others.
    • Example: The meeting was dominated by a windbag who contributed little substance.
  74. Wishy-Washy: Lacking in decisiveness; prone to changing opinions or positions; weak or insipid.
    • Example: His wishy-washy response did little to reassure those looking for firm leadership.
  75. Withered: Diminished or weakened, especially due to ageing or lack of care.
    • Example: The once vibrant community garden now looked withered and neglected.
  76. Woebetide: An expression of warning of misfortune, often used dramatically in literature.
    • Example: “Woebetide the one who betrays their comrades,” the leader solemnly warned.
  77. Workaday: Lacking in excitement; ordinary and mundane.
    • Example: His workaday life left him longing for adventure and spontaneity.
  78. World-weary: Feeling or showing fatigue from worldly affairs; feeling or showing boredom, cynicism, or disillusionment.
    • Example: The world-weary philosopher pondered if true happiness was ever attainable.
  79. Wraithlike: Resembling a ghost or spectre, especially in being very pale, thin, or insubstantial.
    • Example: The illness left her wraithlike, a shadow of her former self.
  80. Whiff: A slight trace or indication of something bad or unpleasant.
    • Example: A whiff of scandal surrounded the politician’s sudden resignation.
  81. Whittle: To gradually reduce the strength or effectiveness of someone or something through persistent attacks or criticism.
    • Example: The constant criticism served to whittle her confidence away.
  82. Wilt: To become limp or droop downwards, often used metaphorically to describe a loss of energy or vigour.
    • Example: He wilted under the harsh criticism of his peers.
  83. Wince: To give a slight involuntary grimace or shrinking movement in anticipation of pain or distress.
    • Example: She winced at the sharp retort, feeling unexpectedly wounded.
  84. Windfall: While often positive, it can imply unearned or unexpected gains in certain contexts that may lead to negative consequences or moral dilemmas.
    • Example: The sudden windfall from the lottery win brought more problems than joy, attracting envy and greed.
  85. Wistfulness: vague or regretful longing; a melancholic yearning for something past or unattainable.
    • Example: There was a wistfulness in his eyes when he spoke of his childhood home, long since gone.

Wrapping Up

There you go – a list of 96 negative words beginning with the letter “W.”

While the list you’ve seen covers a wide range of negative words, from “Waffle” to “Wryness,” it’s important to recognize that language encompasses an array of expressions, including slang, technical terms, and newer additions that may not be captured in a single list.

However, we do update our word lists regularly, so make sure you bookmark this page and check out our other word collections.

Share some love?

Aman, at the helm of Weboword as its founder and Word Architect, believes deeply in the ability of words to connect, educate, and inspire. Each word is a key, and with Weboword, he aims to unlock the doors of imagination, understanding, and connection.

Let's keep in touch

Enter your email address below and subscribe to our newsletter