Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
September 7th, 2016
Episode 640 of 689 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 7, 2016 is: untoward \un-TOH-erd\ adjective 1 : difficult to guide, manage, or work with : unruly, intractable 2 a : marked by trouble or unhappiness : unlucky b : not favorable or propitious : adverse 3 : improper, indecorous Examples: I eyed the stranger suspiciously, but I had to admit that there was nothing untoward about his appearance. "The circulation staff will no longer be able to process credit card payments at the front desk…. There are too many possible legal and financial fraud issues for the library if somethinguntowardwere to occur." — The Milford (Massachusetts) Daily News, 5 July 2016 Did you know? More than 700 years ago, English speakers began using the word toward for "forward-moving" youngsters, the kind who showed promise and were open to listening to their elders. After about 150 years, the use was broadened somewhat to mean simply "docile" or "obliging." The opposite of this toward is froward, meaning "perverse" or "ungovernable." Today, froward has fallen out of common use, and the cooperative sense of toward is downright obsolete, but the newcomer to this series—untoward—has kept its toehold. Untoward first showed up as a synonym of unruly in the 1500s, and it is still used, just as it was then, though it has since acquired other meanings as well.
Have you trembled ‘round the campfire as the ghost stories are told? Do tales of horrors wrought by nature and beyond strike fear in your soul? Is it best when you are afraid to turn out the light? Thrill to stories that strike at your deepest fears, as host Stephen Kilpatrick brings the best of horror fiction to your ears and your mind, read to you by the most chilling narrators that podcasting has to offer. <br /> <br /> Podcasting the finest in genre fiction, Tales to Terrify is where the depths of horror reveal the truths of good, evil, and the human spirit in the District of Wonders podcast network. Like all shows in the District of Wonders, Tales to Terrify is supported by a welcoming community of dedicated fans and contributors. Subscribe today, and begin your journey through the spine-tingling depths of storytelling.<br /> <br /> Everyone has a story in the District of Wonders. Come and find yours.