• WordNet 3.6
    • adj wayward resistant to guidance or discipline "Mary Mary quite contrary","an obstinate child with a violent temper","a perverse mood","wayward behavior"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • a Wayward Taking one's own way; disobedient; froward; perverse; willful. "My wife is in a wayward mood.""Wayward beauty doth not fancy move.""Wilt thou forgive the wayward thought?"
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • wayward Full of caprices or whims; froward; perverse.
    • wayward Irregular; vacillating; unsteady, undulating. or fluctuating: as, the wayward flight of certain birds.
    • wayward Synonyms Wayward, Wilful, Contrary, Untoward, headstrong, intractable, unruly. The italicized words tend toward the same meaning by different ways. Wayward, by derivation, applies to one who turns away from what he is desired or expected to be or to do; but. from its seeming derivation, it has come to apply more often to one who turns toward ways that suit himself, whether or not they happen to be what others desire. Wilful suggests that the person is full of self-will, which asserts itself against those whose wishes ought to be deferred to or whose commands should be obeyed. Contrary and untoward express the same idea, the one in a positive, the other in a negative form. Contrary is an energetic word, expressing the idea that one takes, or is disposed to take, the course exactly opposite to that which he is expected or desired to take. Contrariness, when ingrained, becomes perverseness: as, a contrary disposition; a contrary fellow. This use of contrary is by many considered colloquial, but has the recommendation of figurative force. Contrary and untoward view the person as one to be managed; untoward views the person also as the object of mental or moral discipline: this perhaps through its use in Acts ii. 40. An untoward person is not responsive to persuasion, advice, influence, or requests; untoward circumstances are similarly such as do not help us in our plans. All these words imply that the only consistency in the person's conduct is in this self-willed independence of others' wishes or opposition to them, but untoward implies it least. See perverse.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Wayward froward: wilful: irregular
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  • Horace
    “Take away the danger and remove the restraint, and wayward nature runs free.”
  • Queen Elizabeth
    Queen Elizabeth
    “Like all the best families, we have our share of eccentricities, of impetuous and wayward youngsters and of family disagreements.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. weiward, for aweiward, i. e., turned away. See Away, and -ward
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. weg; Ger. weg, L. via, Sans. vaha, akin to vehĕre, to carry.


In literature:

The sailor, in a tempest of wrath and wild emotion, had it in his mind to compel her into reason, to shake her, as one shakes a wayward child.
"The Wings of the Morning" by Louis Tracy
We saw at Edam certain odd characters formed in Nature's wayward moods.
"A Wanderer in Holland" by E. V. Lucas
He died prematurely in 1618, a victim while still young to a wayward life of dissipation and disappointment.
"History of Holland" by George Edmundson
He could not allow the waywardness of events to upset his convictions or the cherished habits of his soul.
"The Life of Reason" by George Santayana
All legislative bodies are liable to sudden and wayward impulses.
"Atlantic Monthly, Vol. XII. July, 1863, No. LXIX." by Various
But he was wayward, and he hated tasks.
"Godey's Lady's Book, Vol. 42, January, 1851" by Various
But I reasoned with myself and rebuked myself; wayward woman, why am I maddened and am enraged with those who consult well for me?
"The Tragedies of Euripides, Volume I." by Euripides
But he was too wayward to observe the conventions of society, and passed beyond the social pale.
"Recent Developments in European Thought" by Various
Charles is, of course, David, and Monmouth, the wayward son, is Absalom.
"English Literature, Considered as an Interpreter of English History" by Henry Coppee
It cannot be the fire or the water that rages, or that is wayward.
"Selections From the Works of John Ruskin" by John Ruskin
Now Siegfried, as you know, had been in Isenland and knew some of the customs of this wayward Queen.
"Young Folks Treasury, Volume 2 (of 12)" by Various
From this attitude comes the multitude of our spoiled, wayward, disappointed children.
"Darkwater" by W. E. B. Du Bois
Of what avail was this outward and goodly show against the cruel and wayward temper of his daughter?
"Traditions of Lancashire, Volume 1 (of 2)" by John Roby
They were the same grey, steely eyes, restless, shifting, unreliable, mirrors of the man's impulsive, wayward and fickle mind.
"The Man with the Clubfoot" by Valentine Williams
She was full of caprices as a wayward child.
"Verner's Pride" by Mrs. Henry Wood
But, Wayward, I've been in heavy harness.
"The Firing Line" by Robert W. Chambers
To bank on the single grain of good in his wayward sister's heart!
"The Day of the Beast" by Zane Grey
Chivalrous sentiment took the place of irony; scholarly method supplied the want of wayward fancy.
"Renaissance in Italy, Volumes 1 and 2" by John Addington Symonds
This wayward questing of his mind irritated him.
"Poor Man's Rock" by Bertrand W. Sinclair
On such occasions, dutiful as he was in higher matters, he remained incurably wayward.
"The Prose Works of William Wordsworth" by William Wordsworth

In poetry:

I think of days forgotten,
As my fancies older grew,
How I had wayward changes,
And thy love no changing knew.
"To My Mother" by Edwin Arnold
She too may have within her breast
A conscience, if not like to yours,
A sense of rightness ill at rest,
Long as her waywardness endures.
"The Door Of Humility" by Alfred Austin
And that reminds me, I heard something
About your waywardness: you burned their books,
It seems, instead of answering those sages.
"Paracelsus: Part III: Paracelsus" by Robert Browning
These struggling tides of life that seem
In wayward, aimless course to tend,
Are eddies of the mighty stream
That rolls to its appointed end.
"The Crowded Street" by William Cullen Bryant
Midst yearnings for a truer life,
Without were fears, within was strife;
And still his wayward act denied
The perfect good for which he sighed.
"The Chapel of the Hermits" by John Greenleaf Whittier
Ah! thou art like our wayward race;—
When not a shade of pain or ill
Dims the bright smile of Nature's face,
Thou lov'st to sigh and murmur still.
"The West Wind" by William Cullen Bryant

In news:

When I was a girl, my father often warned me of the dangers of the wayward life.
Navy says missile smashed wayward satellite.
How to deal with an employer's wayward, unflattering e-mail.
Find out in the Wayward Actors production beginning tomorrow, April 1, at the Kentucky Center for the Arts.
In Wayward Pursuit of the Germans and Their History.
Plus, Chuck was hit on his shoulder by a wayward foul ball.
One wayward pitch ended Adam Greenberg's major league career on the same day it began, on a breezy July night in Miami seven years ago.
He pitched the ball with his left hand Sunday, which he said wasn't a factor in the wayward toss.
Kansas rises to the top spot on our 2011 list with their hit single 'Carry On My Wayward Son'.
But society has a response to wayward replicants: special detectives called blade runners that seek out and "retire" runaways.
But the wayward journey we take to get there made me want to rip the screenwriter 's face off.
Wayward seagull sparks Berkeley roof fire.
Hometown hero or wayward son.
With gestures universally understood, they beckon southside drivers late on a Friday night, seeking out the wayward and lonely.
So says native Charlestonian Kristy Bishop, fiber artist, wayward painter, and co-organizer of the upcoming fiber arts exhibit Pinned Down.