View synonyms for untoward


[ uhn-tawrd, -tohrd ]


  1. unfavorable or unfortunate:

    Untoward circumstances forced him into bankruptcy.

  2. improper:

    untoward social behavior.

  3. Archaic. froward; perverse.


/ ˌʌntəˈwɔːd; ʌnˈtəʊəd /


  1. characterized by misfortune, disaster, or annoyance
  2. not auspicious; adverse; unfavourable
  3. unseemly or improper
  4. out of the ordinary; out of the way
  5. archaic.
    refractory; perverse
  6. obsolete.
    awkward, ungainly, or uncouth
“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

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Derived Forms

  • ˌuntoˈwardness, noun
  • ˌuntoˈwardly, adverb
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Other Words From

  • un·to·wardly adverb
  • un·to·wardness noun
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Word History and Origins

Origin of untoward1

First recorded in 1520–30; un- 1 + toward
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Example Sentences

The existence of that effort is itself presented by Lindell as evidence that something untoward happened, which is a bit like spending $250,000 on Bigfoot deterrents and then pointing to that investment as evidence that Bigfoot must exist.

There remains no credible evidence at all that anything untoward occurred in the 2020 election.

I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward.

Gwinn always maintained there was nothing untoward about the contracts and hired an outside accounting firm to audit them, which found accepted accounting principles were followed, the newspaper reported.

After somebody has gotten a vaccine—weeks or months later—they can have an untoward immune reaction.

But Krauss said that from the moment he and the other scientists arrived on the island, they never saw anything untoward.

There was no indication of anything untoward at the newest outpost of the Ace Hotel, in London, today.

I try not to think about the cold years ahead, when time will slowly poach my youth and my body will begin its untoward changes.

Any objectionable remark, any untoward joke, any awkward facial expression may be recorded and broadcast.

The story of this untoward event illustrates at once the morbid habit of his mind and the bitter passions of those times.

So solemn was his air, so sober his voice, that both girls felt a premonition of the untoward message that he bore.

Where a Professor Whitney may succeed in spite of untoward circumstances, a dozen will probably fail because of circumstances.

On his way home Francie was a good deal occupied with the recollection of this untoward incident.

But Charles, absorbed as always in himself, saw nothing untoward in their presence.