[ uhn-tawrd, -tohrd ]
/ ʌnˈtɔrd, -ˈtoʊrd /


unfavorable or unfortunate: Untoward circumstances forced him into bankruptcy.
improper: untoward social behavior.
Archaic. froward; perverse.

Origin of untoward

First recorded in 1520–30; un-1 + toward
Related formsun·to·ward·ly, adverbun·to·ward·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for untoward

British Dictionary definitions for untoward


/ (ˌʌntəˈwɔːd, ʌnˈtəʊəd) /


characterized by misfortune, disaster, or annoyance
not auspicious; adverse; unfavourable
unseemly or improper
out of the ordinary; out of the way
archaic refractory; perverse
obsolete awkward, ungainly, or uncouth
Derived Formsuntowardly, adverbuntowardness, noun
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 untoward



1520s, "not having inclination" (to or for something), also "difficult to manage, unruly," from un- (1) "not" + toward.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper