2 a : marked by trouble or unhappiness : unlucky
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.
I eyed the stranger suspiciously, but I had to admit that there was nothing untoward about his appearance.
"The circulation staff will no longer be able to process credit card payments at the front desk…. There are too many possible legal and financial fraud issues for the library if something untoward were to occur." — The Milford (Massachusetts) Daily News, 5 July 2016
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Unscramble the letters to create a synonym of untoward meaning "unruly": YRWAADW.VIEW THE ANSWER
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