as in rebellious
given to resisting authority or another's control had always been the most wayward of their three children

Synonyms & Similar Words


Antonyms & Near Antonyms


Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective wayward contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of wayward are balky, contrary, perverse, and restive. While all these words mean "inclined to resist authority or control," wayward suggests strong-willed capriciousness and irregularity in behavior.

a school for wayward youths

When can balky be used instead of wayward?

The synonyms balky and wayward are sometimes interchangeable, but balky suggests a refusing to proceed in a desired direction or course of action.

a balky witness

When would contrary be a good substitute for wayward?

The meanings of contrary and wayward largely overlap; however, contrary implies a temperamental unwillingness to accept orders or advice.

a contrary child

When might perverse be a better fit than wayward?

While the synonyms perverse and wayward are close in meaning, perverse may imply wrongheaded, determined, or cranky opposition to what is reasonable or normal.

a perverse, intractable critic

In what contexts can restive take the place of wayward?

The words restive and wayward are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, restive suggests unwillingness or inability to submit to discipline or follow orders.

tired soldiers growing restive

Thesaurus Entries Near wayward

Cite this Entry

“Wayward.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/wayward. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

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