wayward

adjective
way·​ward | \ ˈwā-wərd How to pronounce wayward (audio) \

Definition of wayward

1 : following one's own capricious, wanton, or depraved inclinations : ungovernable a wayward child
2 : following no clear principle or law : unpredictable
3 : opposite to what is desired or expected : untoward wayward fate

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Other Words from wayward

waywardly adverb
waywardness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for wayward

contrary, perverse, restive, balky, wayward mean inclined to resist authority or control. contrary implies a temperamental unwillingness to accept orders or advice. a contrary child perverse may imply wrongheaded, determined, or cranky opposition to what is reasonable or normal. a perverse, intractable critic restive suggests unwillingness or inability to submit to discipline or follow orders. tired soldiers growing restive balky suggests a refusing to proceed in a desired direction or course of action. a balky witness wayward suggests strong-willed capriciousness and irregularity in behavior. a school for wayward youths

Examples of wayward in a Sentence

parents of a wayward teenager had always been the most wayward of their three children

Recent Examples on the Web

Because gas bubbles are tiny—and the seafloor is deep, dark and often noisy with the sounds of marine life and passing ships—detecting wayward CO2 has been a challenge. Eric Niiler, WIRED, "What to Do About CO2? Try Stuffing It Into the Gulf of Mexico," 6 June 2019 But searches for any wayward snake slithering around her Aussie accommodation turned up nothing, according to son-in-law Paul Airlie. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Python on Plane Travels from Australia to Scotland Inside Woman's Shoe," 25 Feb. 2019 If tax authorities can't find an owner, then the State Bulletin will publish three notices about the plane, searching for the party willing to claim the wayward aircraft and pay back-taxes on its years-long parking space. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Nobody Wants to Claim This Abandoned Airplane at Madrid's Main Airport," 28 Jan. 2019 Milwaukee Tool introduced a clever new feature to help you keep track of that wayward gear. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "Milwaukee Adds Geofencing To Track Your Tools," 20 Dec. 2018 When Churchill’s poor, wayward cousin Abigail Masham, portrayed by Emma Stone, enters the picture and begins working as a scullery maid in the queen’s palace, things start getting really interesting. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Though They Look Regal, Sandy Powell’s Costumes for The Favourite Are Grounded in Reality," 20 Nov. 2018 Prior searches have been fruitless, but the answer to finding the wayward plane that presumably carried 239 passengers to their deaths might be buried in a mathematical model, rather than the waters that have already been searched. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "New Research Might Locate Flight MH370—And Solve One of the Greatest Aviation Mysteries of All Time," 7 Dec. 2018 When a forest is dry as a tinder box, a spark (whether lightning or electrical-line malfunction) or wayward flame can start a blaze. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "What is going on with California’s horrific fires?," 13 Nov. 2018 And Lorin Maazel, whose interpretations of the canon could be bafflingly wayward, in turn succeeded him. David Mermelstein, WSJ, "New York’s New Maestro," 1 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wayward.' 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 wayward

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wayward

Middle English, short for awayward turned away, from away, adverb + -ward

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Statistics for wayward

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for wayward

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

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More Definitions for wayward

wayward

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of wayward

: tending to behave in ways that are not socially acceptable
: not going or moving in the intended direction

wayward

adjective
way·​ward | \ ˈwā-wərd How to pronounce wayward (audio) \

Kids Definition of wayward

2 : not following a rule or regular course of action A wayward throw broke the window.

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More from Merriam-Webster on wayward

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wayward

Spanish Central: Translation of wayward

Nglish: Translation of wayward for Spanish Speakers

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