wantonness


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See: delinquency, misconduct, vice

WANTONNESS, crim. law. A licentious act by one man towards the person of another without regard to his rights; as, for example, if a man should attempt to pull off another's hat against his will in order to expose him to ridicule, the offence would be an assault, and if he touched him it would amount to a battery. (q.v.)
     2. In such case there would be no malice, but the wantonness of the act would render the offending party liable to punishment.

References in classic literature ?
Many men have been praised as vividly imaginative on the strength of their profuseness in indifferent drawing or cheap narration:-- reports of very poor talk going on in distant orbs; or portraits of Lucifer coming down on his bad errands as a large ugly man with bat's wings and spurts of phosphorescence; or exaggerations of wantonness that seem to reflect life in a diseased dream.
I have the books yet; two little, stout volumes in fine print, with the marks of wear on them, but without those dishonorable blots, or those other injuries which boys inflict upon books in resentment of their dulness, or out of mere wantonness.
He was little more than a year younger than John, but much smaller, paler, and less active and robust; a pettish, cowardly, capricious, selfish little fellow, only active in doing mischief, and only clever in inventing falsehoods: not simply to hide his faults, but, in mere malicious wantonness, to bring odium upon others.
Most of all, it was gambling, and on many an occasion not necessary for the advancement of his own schemes, he, as he called it, went the stock-exchange a flutter, out of sheer wantonness and fun.
No conservatory of a king could compare with this wild wantonness of sun-generous vegetation.
Because of their hideous wantonness they lost their tender beauty.
With the wantonness of a sick man's fancy, he likened it to the mighty cry of some Titan of the Elder World vexed with misery or wrath.
This, it is true, would of itself alone never have been able to eradicate Jones from his bosom; but it was greatly injurious to him, and prepared Mr Allworthy's mind for those impressions which afterwards produced the mighty events that will be contained hereafter in this history; and to which, it must be confest, the unfortunate lad, by his own wantonness, wildness, and want of caution, too much contributed.
Again came the careful washing, the jealous herding of the golden specks, and the wantonness with which he sent them flying into the stream when he had counted their number.
The picture I present to you is peaceful and human, and you must feel that you could deny it only in the wantonness of power and cruelty.
It would have been easy to have imagined, in the ages of fable, that the god of the winds had permitted his subordinate agents to escape from their den, and that they now rioted, in wantonness, across wastes, where neither tree, nor work of man, nor mountain, nor obstacle of any sort, opposed itself to their gambols.
And all that, let me tell you, she has simply made up for herself, and not simply out of wantonness, for the sake of bragging; no, she believes it all herself, she amuses herself with her own fancies, upon my word she does