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 Anyone who’s dealt with a Zoom work meeting knows how quickly things can go awry. Heather Gardner,, "This week’s best of late-night: Will Ferrell displays ‘Step Brothers’ testicles, Terry Crews shows off mannequins," 22 May 2020 However, when Derek Gray returned to pick up the purchase, things started to go awry, according to the lawsuit. Breanna Edwards, Essence, "Missouri Officers Sued In Alleged Assault Of Elderly Black Woman And Her Son," 19 May 2020 But the procedure goes awry, leaving Isabel (or Issy, as Jane calls her) grief-stricken and altered. Lucy Knisley, New York Times, "Carnival Performer, Newly Separated; Attachment Issues," 16 May 2020 But in 1991, when the first eight scientists sealed themselves inside the terrarium-like habitat for the two-year experiment, things went awry. Julia Carmel, New York Times, "What’s on TV Saturday: ‘Spaceship Earth’ and ‘Valley Girl’," 9 May 2020 Some of the participants in Ray’s sweat lodge ritual needed medical assistance after the ritual went awry. Alicia Kortendick, al, "‘Deadly Cults’ season two premiere | How to watch, live stream, TV channel, time," 26 Apr. 2020 Sure, the premise of this South Korean drama — about a wealthy South Korean business executive who ends up on the North Korean side of the region’s demilitarized zone after a paragliding outing goes awry — necessitates some suspension of disbelief. Bethonie Butler, Washington Post, "From ‘Fauda’ to ‘Money Heist,’ here are 11 international shows to stream right now," 16 Apr. 2020 Downhill stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell on a fictional family trip to the Alps that goes awry and forces them to ask hard questions about their relationship, family, and overall life together. Shannon Mcmahon, USA TODAY, "8 great films that double as travel movies, from 'Crazy Rich Asians' to 'Little Women'," 11 Apr. 2020 Early mentions of the knockout sleep meds Hayley has been taking to stay calm through the frenetic preparations are like Chekhov's gun, and sure enough, a plan to silence loose-cannon Marc by drugging him goes badly awry. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Love Wedding Repeat': Film Review," 10 Apr. 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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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

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Awry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for awry


adjective or adverb
How to pronounce awry (audio)

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with awry

Spanish Central: Translation of awry

Nglish: Translation of awry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of awry for Arabic Speakers

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