First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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Meaning and Origin

What does the name Wanton mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Wanton

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
adjective Wan"ton
  1. Untrained; undisciplined; unrestrained; hence, loose; free; luxuriant; roving; sportive."In woods and wantonwilderness."Spenser."A wild and wantonherd."Shak."A wanton and a merry [friar]." [Chaucer.]"She] her unadorned golden tresses wore Disheveled, but in wanton ringlets waved." [Milton.]"How does your tongue grow wanton in her praise!" [Addison.]
  2. Wandering from moral rectitude; perverse; dissolute."Men grown wantonby prosperity." [Roscommon.]
  3. Specifically: Deviating from the rules of chastity; lewd; lustful; lascivious; libidinous; lecherous."Not with wanton looking of folly." [Chaucer.]"Thou art] froward by nature, enemy to peace, Lascivious, wanton." [Shak.]
  4. Reckless; heedless; as, wanton mischief.

Etymology: OE. wantoun, contr. from wantowen; pref. wan- wanting (see Wane (v. i.)), hence expressing negation + towen, p. p., AS. togen, p. p. of teón to draw, to educate, bring up; hence, properly, ill bred. See Tug (v. t.)

noun Wan"ton
  1. A roving, frolicsome thing; a trifler; -- used rarely as a term of endearment."I am afeard you make a wanton of me." [Shak.]"Peace, my wantons; he will do More than you can aim unto." [B. Jonson.]
  2. One brought up without restraint; a pampered pet."Anything, sir, That's dry and wholesome; I am no bred wanton." [Beau. & Fl.]
  3. A lewd person; a lascivious man or woman.
verb Wan"ton
  1. To rove and ramble without restraint, rule, or limit; to revel; to play loosely; to frolic."Nature here wantoned as in her prime." [Milton.]"How merrily we would sally into the fields, and strip under the first warmth of the sun, and wanton like young dace in the streams!" [Lamb.]
  2. To sport in lewdness; to play the wanton; to play lasciviously.
verb Wan"ton
To cause to become wanton; also, to waste in wantonness.
Other Dictionary Sources
  1. Lewd or lascivious woman
  2. Behave extremely cruelly and brutally
  3. Engage in amorous play
  4. Become extravagant; indulge (oneself) luxuriously
  5. Spend wastefully ("wanton one's money away")
  6. Indulge in a carefree or voluptuous way of life
  7. Waste time; spend one's time idly or inefficiently
  8. Casual and unrestrained in sexual behavior ("wanton behavior")
  9. Occurring without motivation or provocation

Notable Persons With the Last Name Wanton

Joseph Wanton was a merchant and governor. Joseph was born on August 15th, 1705 in Newport, Rhode Island. He passed away on July 19th, 1780.


His military service ended in 1888. George was born on May 15th, 1868 in Paterson, New Jersey. He left this life on November 27th, 1940.


William Wanton was an assistant, deputy, colonel of militia, speaker of house of deputies, and governor. William was born on September 15th, 1670 in Scituate, Massachusetts. He died in 1733.


John Wanton was an assistant, deputy, speaker of house of deputies, deputy governor, and governor. John was born on December 24th, 1672 in Scituate, Massachusetts. He breathed his last breath on July 5th, 1740.


Gideon Wanton was a treasurer and governor. Gideon was born on October 20th, 1693 in Tiverton, Rhode Island. He passed away on September 12th, 1767.


Jr. Joseph Wanton was a privateer and deputy governor. Jr. was born on February 8th, 1730 in Newport, Rhode Island. Jr. is also known as Wanton. They breathed their last breath on August 6th, 1780.


Where is the name Wanton popular?

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Popularity of Wanton as a last name

The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Wanton as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in Florida, New York, or Illinois.

Ethnicity Distribution

Ethnicity Wanton U.S.
  White 6.25% 64.26%
  African American 75.00% 11.96%
  Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 0.00% 4.85%
  American Indian and Alaska Native 0.00% 0.69%
  Two or More Ethnicities 3.75% 1.76%
  Hispanic or Latino 14.38% 16.26%

Of Last Name Wanton

People with the last name Wanton are most frequently African American or Hispanic or Latino

Entire United States

Fun Facts about the name Wanton

  • How Popular is the name Wanton? As a last name Wanton was the 110,286th most popular name in 2010.
  • When was the first name Wanton first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the name Wanton is Thursday, February 12th, 1891.
  • How unique is the name Wanton? From 1880 to 2017 less than 5 people per year have been born with the first name Wanton. Hoorah! You are a unique individual.
  • Weird things about the name Wanton: Your name in reverse order is Notnaw. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Owntna. How do you pronounce that?
  • How many people have the last name Wanton? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 160 people with the last name Wanton.
  • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Wanton? Wanton is one of the most unique last names recorded.

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  • Sources:
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
  • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
  • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
  • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.