untoward

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adjective un·to·ward \ˌən-ˈtō-ərd, -ˈtȯ(-ə)rd; ˌən-tə-ˈwȯrd\

Definition of untoward

  1. 1 :  difficult to guide, manage, or work with :  unruly, intractable

  2. 2 a :  marked by trouble or unhappiness :  unlucky b :  not favorable :  adverse, unpropitious <untoward side effects>

  3. 3 :  improper, indecorous

untowardly

adverb

untowardness

noun

Examples of untoward in a sentence

  1. There was nothing untoward about his appearance.

  2. <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.

15th Century

First Known Use of untoward

15th century


UNTOWARD Defined for English Language Learners

untoward

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adjective un·to·ward \ˌən-ˈtō-ərd, -ˈtȯ(-ə)rd; ˌən-tə-ˈwȯrd\

Definition of untoward for English Language Learners

  • : bad or unfavorable : not good

  • : not proper or appropriate


UNTOWARD Defined for Kids

untoward

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adjective un·to·ward \ˌən-ˈtō-ərd\

Definition of untoward for Students

  1. :  unexpected and unpleasant or improper <Perhaps there was sickness in the temple, or some other untoward event … — Linda Sue Park, A Single Shard>



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