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 When the job goes awry and a cop is killed, Tatsuo attempts to flee the country with the help of Yasue (Miyuki Kuwano), a disillusioned bathhouse worker equally deceived by Takashi. Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times, 20 July 2021 According to Sheahan, a virus can only tolerate minimal damage to that machinery before replication goes awry. Charles Schmidt, Scientific American, 15 July 2021 That provides public accountability of every submission, and a place to start investigating if something goes awry. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, 18 June 2021 The book, written for middle-grade readers, follows an ornithologist’s daughter, Loah Londonberry, who must find ways to help her mother, Dr. Londonderry, when an expedition to the arctic tundra goes awry. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland, 2 June 2021 That has amplified the damage when something goes awry — as when an enormous vessel lodged in the Suez Canal this year, closing the primary channel linking Europe and Asia. New York Times, 1 June 2021 But plans go awry, a pitcher’s feel ebbs and flows and batters change their tendencies. oregonlive, 3 June 2021 The survey estimates that one in five DIY projects go awry. Jada Jackson, House Beautiful, 2 June 2021 The staff hasn’t ruled out bringing in a veteran from the transfer portal to provide more depth and competition, especially if Kerstetter’s recovery from a hideous ankle injury goes awry. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, 16 May 2021

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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Last Updated

27 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Awry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jul. 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on awry

Nglish: Translation of awry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of awry for Arabic Speakers


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