- turned or turning away from what is right or proper; willful; disobedient: a wayward son; wayward behavior.
- swayed or prompted by caprice; capricious: a wayward impulse; to be wayward in one's affections.
- turning or changing irregularly; irregular: a wayward breeze.
Origin of wayward
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. contrary, headstrong, stubborn, obstinate, unruly, refractory, intractable. See willful. 3. unsteady, inconstant, changeable.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for wayward
It was an intimate and somber plea, like a parent opening an intervention with a wayward child.How to Run a Statewide Campaign on $38
November 12, 2014
How about the man who created her—a lover of women who lived with a wife, his lover, their children, and a wayward librarian?Wonder Woman’s Creation Story Is Wilder Than You Could Ever Imagine
November 3, 2014
The story of a wayward anesthesia trainee who took a near fatal dose of fentanyl hit the news this week.The Secret World of Drug-Addict Doctors
April 24, 2014
In Williamsburg, Nechemya Weberman was a revered leader and a counselor to wayward youth.How One Sex Abuse Case Tore Apart the Williamsburg Hasidim
August 8, 2013
Also, I adore the devastating footnotes, wherein he eviscerates (decorously) his wayward predecessor, Andrew Field.Blake Bailey: How I Write
March 20, 2013
From the moment they again met, his wayward heart reverted to her.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
I have, indeed, been the luckless victim of wayward follies; but, alas!The Letters of Robert Burns
But wayward children must, with all kindness, be flogged into obedience.Micah Clarke
Arthur Conan Doyle
Through some trick of wayward thought, to myself and my trouble.Poems
William D. Howells
Then pity won the day in the wayward but ever gentle heart of Valentina.Love-at-Arms
- wanting to have one's own way regardless of the wishes or good of others
- capricious, erratic, or unpredictable
C14: changed from awayward turned or turning away
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for wayward
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper