untoward was our Word of the Day on 09/07/2016. Hear the podcast!
Examples of untoward in a sentence
There was nothing untoward about his appearance.
tried to reason with the untoward child
Did You Know?
More than 700 years ago, English speakers began using the word toward for "forward-moving" youngsters, the kind who showed promise and were open to listening to their elders. After about 150 years, the use was broadened somewhat to mean simply "docile" or "obliging." The opposite of this toward is froward, meaning "perverse" or "ungovernable." Today, froward has fallen out of common use, and the cooperative sense of toward is downright obsolete, but the newcomer to this series—untoward—has kept its toehold. Untoward first showed up as a synonym of unruly in the 1500s, and it is still used, just as it was then, though it has since acquired other meanings as well.
First Known Use of untoward
UNTOWARD Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of untoward for English Language Learners
: bad or unfavorable : not good
: not proper or appropriate
UNTOWARD Defined for Kids
Definition of untoward for Students
: unexpected and unpleasant or improper Perhaps there was sickness in the temple, or some other untoward event … — Linda Sue Park, A Single Shard
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up untoward? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).