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wayward

[wey-werd]
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adjective
  1. turned or turning away from what is right or proper; willful; disobedient: a wayward son; wayward behavior.
  2. swayed or prompted by caprice; capricious: a wayward impulse; to be wayward in one's affections.
  3. turning or changing irregularly; irregular: a wayward breeze.
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Origin of wayward

1350–1400; Middle English; aphetic variant of awayward. See away, -ward
Related formsway·ward·ly, adverbway·ward·ness, nounun·way·ward, adjective

Synonyms

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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

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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!

  • 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

    Raphael Sabatini


British Dictionary definitions for wayward

wayward

adjective
  1. wanting to have one's own way regardless of the wishes or good of others
  2. capricious, erratic, or unpredictable
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Derived Formswaywardly, adverbwaywardness, noun

Word Origin

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

adj.

late 14c., shortening of aweiward "turned away," from away + -ward.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper