Synonyms & Antonyms of wayward

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Frequently Asked Questions About wayward

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

Learn More About wayward

Time Traveler for wayward

Time Traveler

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

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Thesaurus Entries Near wayward

way stations



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Cite this Entry

“Wayward.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on wayward

Nglish: Translation of wayward for Spanish Speakers


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