W w


    • US Pronunciation
    • US IPA
    • UK Pronunciation
    • UK IPA
    • [wey-werd]
    • /ˈweɪ wərd/
    • /ˈweɪ.wəd/
    • US Pronunciation
    • US IPA
    • [wey-werd]
    • /ˈweɪ wərd/

Definitions of wayward word

  • adjective wayward turned or turning away from what is right or proper; willful; disobedient: a wayward son; wayward behavior. 1
  • adjective wayward swayed or prompted by caprice; capricious: a wayward impulse; to be wayward in one's affections. 1
  • adjective wayward turning or changing irregularly; irregular: a wayward breeze. 1
  • noun wayward Difficult to control or predict because of unusual or perverse behavior. 1
  • adjective wayward person: wilful 1
  • adjective wayward If you describe a person or their behaviour as wayward, you mean that they behave in a selfish, bad, or unpredictable way, and are difficult to control. 0

Information block about the term

Origin of wayward

First appearance:

before 1350
One of the 20% oldest English words
1350-1400; Middle English; aphetic variant of awayward. See away, -ward

Historical Comparancy

Parts of speech for Wayward


wayward popularity

A common word. It’s meaning is known to most children of preschool age. About 74% of English native speakers know the meaning and use the word.
Most Europeans know this English word. The frequency of it’s usage is somewhere between "mom" and "screwdriver".

wayward usage trend in Literature

This diagram is provided by Google Ngram Viewer

Synonyms for wayward

adjective wayward

  • willful — deliberate, voluntary, or intentional: The coroner ruled the death willful murder.
  • naughty — disobedient; mischievous (used especially in speaking to or about children): Weren't we naughty not to eat our spinach?
  • unruly — not submissive or conforming to rule; ungovernable; turbulent; intractable; refractory; lawless: an unruly class; an unruly wilderness.
  • errant — Erring or straying from the proper course or standards.
  • disobedient — neglecting or refusing to obey; not submitting; refractory.

Antonyms for wayward

adjective wayward

  • well-behaved — to act in a particular way; conduct or comport oneself or itself: The ship behaves well.
  • compliant — If you say that someone is compliant, you mean they willingly do what they are asked to do.
  • dependable — If you say that someone or something is dependable, you approve of them because you feel that you can be sure that they will always act consistently or sensibly, or do what you need them to do.
  • obedient — obeying or willing to obey; complying with or submissive to authority: an obedient son.
  • steady — firmly placed or fixed; stable in position or equilibrium: a steady ladder.

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See also

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