adverb or adjective
\ ə-ˈrī How to pronounce awry (audio) \

Definition of awry

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

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Examples of awry in a Sentence

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 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 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 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
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Recent Examples on the Web Cruel Summer teases an early, lighthearted interaction between the show's two leading ladies — that is, before things go awry. Dory Jackson,, "Cruel Summer: See Olivia Holt and Chiara Aurelia in Sneak Peek of Jessica Biel-Produced Thriller," 13 Apr. 2021 And there’s plenty of time to have things go awry, experts say. Chronicle Staff, San Francisco Chronicle, "Coronavirus updates from the Bay Area: April 1-7, 2021," 11 Apr. 2021 Only one—a flu pandemic in 1977—likely came from a vaccine trial gone awry. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "Where Covid-19 came from is as much a political question as a scientific one," 25 Mar. 2021 Stefani convinces Zola to join her for a weekend of partying in Florida, but their plans go awry, to say the least. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The First Zola Trailer Is Here, and It's Already a Wild Ride," 31 Mar. 2021 The giant bracket printed onto the exterior of the JW Marriott is the largest in history, according to its manufacturer, giving locals and tourists the chance to see their tournament picks go awry across 47,000 square feet. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "'Risks have been minimized': How March Madness is being pulled off amid COVID-19 pandemic," 19 Mar. 2021 Even without the interference of Agatha or S.W.O.R.D. boss Tyler Hayward, things would have gone awry eventually. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, "‘WandaVision’ Is a Love Letter to TV — And a Reminder of How to Do It Right," 4 Mar. 2021 Motives, miscues and the best intentions gone horribly awry provide the dramatic momentum of this 10-part thriller, created by the U.K. John Anderson, WSJ, "‘Your Honor’ Review: Crashing Into a Crime Family," 3 Dec. 2020 If this launch attempt had gone awry, NASA would have had until August 15 until its launch window closed. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, "NASA's Perseverance Rover Successfully Takes Off on New Mission to Mars," 30 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'awry.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of awry

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for awry

see wry entry 1

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Learn More about awry

Time Traveler for awry

Time Traveler

The first known use of awry was in the 14th century

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Statistics for awry

Last Updated

22 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Awry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for awry


adjective or adverb

English Language Learners Definition of awry

: not working correctly or happening in the expected way
: not straight or neat


adverb or adjective
\ ə-ˈrī How to pronounce awry (audio) \

Kids Definition of awry

1 : turned or twisted to one side : askew His hat was all awry.
2 : out of the right course : amiss The plans had gone awry.

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More from Merriam-Webster on awry

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for awry

Nglish: Translation of awry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of awry for Arabic Speakers

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