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untoward

[uhn-tawrd, -tohrd]
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adjective
  1. unfavorable or unfortunate: Untoward circumstances forced him into bankruptcy.
  2. improper: untoward social behavior.
  3. Archaic. froward; perverse.
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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. 2018

Related Words for untoward

unmanageable, adverse, perverse, unfortunate, disturbing, unbecoming, unseemly, inappropriate, annoying, awkward, contrary, disastrous, fractious, hapless, inauspicious, inconvenient, inimical, inopportune, intractable, irritating

Examples from the Web for untoward

Contemporary Examples of untoward

Historical Examples of untoward

  • He would not have been a Briton if these untoward combinations of events had not made him surly.

  • It would take only an untoward word, a false movement, to start a massacre.

    Slaves of Mercury

    Nat Schachner

  • He thought not at all of the untoward fortune that had placed him where he stood.

  • Had she been commissioned to tell him of some untoward event?

    We Two

    Edna Lyall

  • Truly it is untoward, but I wish, my dear aunt, you would not let it trouble you so much.

    Fairy Fingers

    Anna Cora Mowatt Ritchie


British Dictionary definitions for untoward

untoward

adjective
  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
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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

adj.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper