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From Middle English froward, fraward, equivalent to fro +‎ -ward.



froward (comparative more froward, superlative most froward)

  1. (archaic, literary) Disobedient, contrary, unmanageable; difficult to deal with; with an evil disposition.
    • 1553 (posth.), Thomas More, A Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation, Book I, Chapter 14:
      But in the meanwhile, for fear lest if he would wax never the better he would wax much the worse; and from gentle, smooth, sweet, and courteous, might wax angry, rough, froward, and sour, and thereupon be troublous and tedious to the world to make fair weather with; they give him fair words for the while and put him in good comfort, and let him for the rest take his own chance.
    • ca. 1592, William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, Act I, Scene 2,[1]
      Her only fault,—and that is faults enough,—
      Is, that she is intolerable curst
      And shrewd and froward, so beyond all measure,
      That, were my state far worser than it is,
      I would not wed her for a mine of gold.
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, Proverbs 21:8,[2]
      The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.
    • 1625, Francis Bacon, "Of Innovation"
      All this is true, if time stood still; which contrariwise moveth so round, that a froward retention of custom, is as turbulent a thing as an innovation []
    • 1816, George Crabb, English Synonymes Explained, London: Baldwin, Cradock and Joy, p. 133,[3]
      A froward child becomes an untoward youth, who turns a deaf ear to all the admonitions of an afflicted parent.
    • 1954, J. R. R. Tolkien, "The Two Towers":
      'I owe much to Eomer,' said Theoden. 'Faithful heart may have froward tongue.'
    • 2007, Peter Marshall, Mother Leakey and the Bishop: A Ghost Story[4], Oxford Univ. Press, →ISBN:
      … which so incensed this old hag that she grew as froward and sullen as the doctor, …
    • c2009, Mary Sidney, “Froward Women”, in Mary Sidney[5], retrieved 2012-08-31:
      However, it does make one wonder — if William Shakespeare were the creator of all these froward, literate, and often powerful women, why did he let his own daughters grow up illiterate?
    • 2012 June 9, Christine, “Forward or Froward”, in Talk Wisdom[6], retrieved 2012-08-31:
      … the Communist/Marxist/Progressive/Globalist meaning of the term "Forward" can more accurately be labeled as Froward. … campaign slogan choice would better resemble the term "Froward" rather than the term "Forward."


Derived termsEdit




  1. (obsolete) Away from.
    • 1485 July 31, Thomas Malory, “(please specify the chapter)”, in [Le Morte Darthur], (please specify the book number), [London]: Enprynted and fynysshed in thabbey Westmestre [by William Caxton], OCLC 71490786; republished as H[einrich] Oskar Sommer, editor, Le Morte Darthur by Syr Thomas Malory; the Original Edition of William Caxton Now Reprinted and Edited with an Introduction and Glossary by H. Oskar Sommer, Ph.D.; with an Essay on Malory’s Prose Style by Andrew Lang, London: Published by David Nutt, in the Strand, 1889, OCLC 890162034:
      , Bk.XIII, Ch.xvij:
      Whan Sir Galahad herde hir sey so, he was adrad to be knowyn; and therewith he smote hys horse with his sporys and rode a grete pace froward them.