Also found in: Thesaurus.
Related to waywardness: preoccupied


1. Deviating from what is desired, expected, or required, especially in being disobedient or in gratifying one's own inclinations: "a teacher taking pains with a wayward but promising child" (George Orwell).
2. Difficult or impossible to manage, control, or keep in order: a wayward strand of hair.
3. Going somewhere not intended or desired: a wayward golf shot; a wayward courier.
4. Following no clear pattern; unpredictable: "events that were often thought to be wayward, capricious, and inexplicable" (Marq de Villiers).

[Middle English, short for awaiward, turned away, perverse : awai, away; see away + -ward, -ward.]

way′ward·ly adv.
way′ward·ness n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


 of haywards: a company of haywards—Bk. of St. Albans. 1486; of herdsmen—Lipton, 1970.
Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


[ˈweɪwədnɪs] N (= wilfulness) → rebeldía f; (= capriciousness) → lo caprichoso
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈweɪwərdnɪs] nentêtement m
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


n (= stubbornness: of child, horse, disposition) → Eigenwilligkeit f, → Eigensinn m; (= capriciousness: of imagination, request, passion) → Abwegigkeit f; (liter, of stream, breeze) → Unberechenbarkeit f, → Launenhaftigkeit f (liter)
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
References in classic literature ?
It showed Pearl in an unwonted aspect Heretofore, the mother, while loving her child with the intensity of a sole affection, had schooled herself to hope for little other return than the waywardness of an April breeze, which spends its time in airy sport, and has its gusts of inexplicable passion, and is petulant in its best of moods, and chills oftener than caresses you, when you take it to your bosom; in requital of which misdemeanours it will sometimes, of its own vague purpose, kiss your cheek with a kind of doubtful tenderness, and play gently with your hair, and then be gone about its other idle business, leaving a dreamy pleasure at your heart.
Putting Miss Havisham's note in my pocket, that it might serve as my credentials for so soon reappearing at Satis House, in case her waywardness should lead her to express any surprise at seeing me, I went down again by the coach next day.
I observed that he now took the course in which had gone the greater number of the audience - but, upon the whole, I was at a loss to comprehend the waywardness of his actions.
This sincerity or earnestness he would have applied everywhere: he makes it the law, the healthy and holy law, of art, of morals, of politics."* And through all Carlyle's exaggeration and waywardness of diction we find that note ring clear again and again.
Many is the hour that I've passed, lying in the shades of the woods, or stretch'd upon the hills of these open fields, looking up into the blue skies, where I could fancy the Great One had taken his stand, and was solemnising on the waywardness of man and brute, below, as I myself had often look'd at the ants tumbling over each other in their eagerness, though in a way and a fashion more suited to His mightiness and power.
I began to defend myself, thinking it too bad to be blamed for another's wicked waywardness. 'I knew Mrs.
And besides being haunted by what was Rita on earth I was haunted also by her waywardness, her gentleness and her flame, by that which the high gods called Rita when speaking of her amongst themselves.
She had caught herself wondering what marriage was like, and the becoming conscious of the waywardness and ardor of the thought had terrified her.
For all his waywardness, he took great credit to himself as being determined to be in earnest "this time." And he was so good-natured throughout, and in such high spirits, and so fond of Ada, that it was very difficult indeed to be otherwise than pleased with him.
"Of course not," was Daughtry's judgment, as he dashed across the deck, crawled through the confusion of the main-topmast and its many stays that blocked the way, and found the tiny, white morsel of life perched on a bunk-edge, ruffling its feathers, erecting and flattening its rosy crest, and cursing in honest human speech the waywardness of the world and of ships and humans upon the sea.
He made no offer of molestation or sociability, but kept aloof on one side of the road, jogging along on the blind side of old Gunpowder, who had now got over his fright and waywardness.
Wanjiru is said to have told the police about her husband's waywardness after the cows of their neighbours were stolen and slaughtered in the bush.