adverb or adjective \ə-ˈrī\

Definition of awry

  1. 1 :  off the correct or expected course :  amiss Their plans went awry.

  2. 2 :  in a turned or twisted position or direction :  askew His wig was put on all awry, with the tail straggling about his neck. — Charles Dickens

Examples of awry in a sentence

  1. In his 1942 story “Runaround,” Isaac Asimov offered his now-famous Three Laws of Robotics: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm; a robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law; and a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. Most of Asimov's stories deal with things going awry because these laws don't equip robots to tackle real-world situations. —Robert J. Sawyer, Science, 16 Nov. 2007

  2. Beer is made up of a complex concoction of substances that stretch well beyond simply that of water and ethanol. There is ample opportunity, then, for things to go awry in the beer-making process. —David Filmore, Today's Chemist at Work, January 2002

  3. If you forget to sign your return, speckle it with correction fluid, or assemble the pages in the wrong order, the agent may take a much closer look to see if anything else is awry. —Janine S. Pouliot, Parenting, April 1997

  4. I was proud of my schoolteacher father. If his suit was out of press, and his necktie knotted awry, I was too new to the world to notice. —John Updike, New Yorker, 10 Mar. 1997

Origin and Etymology of awry

see 1wry

First Known Use: 14th century

AWRY Defined for English Language Learners


adverb or adjective \ə-ˈrī\

Definition of awry for English Language Learners

  • : not working correctly or happening in the expected way

  • : not straight or neat

AWRY Defined for Kids


adverb or adjective \ə-ˈrī\

Definition of awry for Students

  1. 1 :  turned or twisted to one side :  askew His hat was all awry.

  2. 2 :  out of the right course :  amiss The plans had gone awry.

Seen and Heard

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to criticize severely

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