Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



un- +‎ toward (to +‎ -ward)


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌʌn.tʊˈwɔːd/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ʌnˈtɔɹd/, /ˌʌn.təˈwɔɹd/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɔː(ɹ)d


untoward (comparative more untoward, superlative most untoward)

  1. Unfavourable, adverse, or disadvantageous.
    Synonyms: adverse, disadvantageous, inconvenient, unfavorable, unfortunate
    • 1885–1888, Richard F[rancis] Burton, transl. and editor, Supplemental Nights to the Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night [], volume (please specify the volume), Shammar edition, [London]: [] Burton Club [], →OCLC:
      But as soon as her son espied her, bowl in hand, he thought that haply something untoward had befallen her, but he would not ask of aught until such time as she had set down the bowl, when she acquainted him with that which had occurred []
    • 1900, Willa Cather, "Eric Hermannson's Soul," Cosmopolitan 28:633 (April):
      Honest men for the most part, but men with whom the world had dealt hardly; the failures of all countries, men sobered by toil and saddened by exile, who had been driven to fight for the dominion of an untoward soil, to sow where others should gather, the advance-guard of a mighty civilization to be.
    • 1941 November, Cecil J. Allen, “British Locomotive Practice and Performance”, in Railway Magazine, page 484:
      At Tebay however, he began to get the mastery over these untoward conditions, and actually got back a little time up to Shap, after which all was plain sailing.
    • 2004, Jan Riordan, chapter 5, in Breastfeeding and Human Lactation, →ISBN, page 149:
      No untoward effects were reported; however, this was not a blinded or controlled study.
    • 2007, Steven C. Schachter et al., chapter 4, in Behavioral Aspects of Epilepsy: Principles and Practice, →ISBN, page 282:
      However, these guidelines may not be applicable to all individuals with refractory epilepsy, in whom seizure control is not achieved without using polytherapy or resection surgery with their untoward side effects.
  2. Unruly, troublesome; not easily guided.
    Synonyms: difficult, fractious, stubborn, troublesome, uncontrollable, unruly
  3. Unseemly, improper.
    Synonyms: immodest, improper, unseemly
    • 1814 July, [Jane Austen], chapter I, in Mansfield Park: [], volume I, London: [] T[homas] Egerton, [], →OCLC, pages 2–3:
      She could hardly have made a more untoward choice.
    • 2005, John Martin, Organizational Behaviour and Management, →ISBN, page 518:
      The managing director was very depressed at the news, but realized that trying to prove anything untoward had taken place would be very difficult.
    • 2021 April 8, Gail Collins, quoting Matt Gaetz, “Here’s … Matt Gaetz”, in The New York Times[1], →ISSN:
      “I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward,” Gaetz said. As only he could.

Derived terms[edit]