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wayward Syllabification: way·ward
Pronunciation: /ˈwāwərd/

Definition of wayward in English:


Difficult to control or predict because of unusual or perverse behavior: her wayward, difficult sister figurative his wayward emotions
More example sentences
  • A fabulous young woman leading a project for wayward pupils explained how difficult it was for boys in her community.
  • Many religious texts legitimise keeping wayward women under control through the use of physical violence.
  • However, in 1998, I changed my wayward behaviour and, within a few months, closed all but one account.


Late Middle English: shortening of obsolete awayward 'turned away'; compare with froward.



Pronunciation: /ˈwāwərdlē/
Example sentences
  • On Friday, he had struck the ball as waywardly as any seasoned golf watcher could remember, despite telling us before the tournament that he was ‘in control of everything right now, and quite happy’.
  • From still lifes to landscapes, graceful interiors to unwieldy allegorical scenes, his work is waywardly old-fashioned.
  • With a performance like tonight's though, people should be wondering how long the star's fantasy world can exist when it keeps getting more waywardly scatty and sad by the day.


Pronunciation: /ˈwāwərdnəs/
Example sentences
  • ‘Parents say the child is stubborn, wilful and try to put down his waywardness to other things,’ she says.
  • This is why, far from condemning individuals for their waywardness, hard drugs policy is increasingly therapeutic - treating users as patients who need protecting from their addiction, rather than individuals who should be punished.
  • A lack of monitoring means misdemeanours go largely unreported, but already many British security firms, who traditionally enjoy the best reputation, have expressed worries about some of their colleagues' waywardness.

Definition of wayward in:

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Word of the day innocuous
Pronunciation: ɪˈnɒkjʊəs
not harmful or offensive