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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:54 pm

• froward •

Pronunciation: fro-wêrd • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Stubbornly disobedient, rebellious, antagonistic, contrary in the extreme.

Notes: Today's Good Word is even more forward than forward itself. Someone who is forward is just a little too aggressive, impolite, speaking too familiarly too soon. Someone who is froward is openly rebellious, just the opposite of someone who is toward "affable, friendly"—another excellent word on the brink of extinction. (Toward, in fact, is far less often heard today than its negative, untoward, as in 'an untoward remark'.) We behave frowardly when we are possessed of frowardness.

In Play: We all pass through a stage in which we are consistently froward: "Lionel is three years old and just entering that froward stage when he does just the opposite of what we ask him to do." That is why 'reverse psychology' was invented. Frowardness is not smiled upon generally, but it is particularly awkward in the business world: "Ally Katz is much too froward to succeed in the corporate world; she will be lucky to keep her current job."

Word History: When the Vikings began invading the coastal areas of England and Scotland, the Old Norse word for "from" was frá. Scots English absorbed this word and today you will hear fra rather than from in many Scottish dialects. In British English, this word influenced from, costing it its closing M for a while in some dialects, though generally from held its ground. We hear fro today only in a few old words like today's Good One and a few phrases like to and fro. Froward remained alongside fromward "thence, away from", though both words are used far less often today than they deserve. (Today's Good Word came from the very toward Samuel Keays, not at all frowardly.)
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Postby MTC » Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:11 am

Considering the contrary disposition of "froward" , perhaps we should approach it from the rear, namely from the suffix "ward." A little research discloses "ward" is an adverbial suffix expressing direction. According to Etymoline "ward" derived from " O.E. -weard 'toward,' lit. 'turned toward.'" So, combining "fro" meaning "from" with "ward" meaning "turned toward," we have "froward" meaning "from turned toward."
This rebellious assemblage I think aptly express the meaning of "froward" as "contrary."

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Postby David McWethy » Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:56 am

The thing that struck me was that if one starts with "toward" and--the other side of the pancake--"froward" and truncates "ward" out of the way, one if left with "to and fro", which has the same basic thesis/antithesis symmetry.
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:52 am

I'm going to turn my attention toward the word "toward." Had no idea its use was declining. Previously I would not have noticed whether someone said either.

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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Oct 06, 2012 12:19 pm

Perry Lassiter wrote:I'm going to turn my attention toward the word "toward." Had no idea its use was declining. Previously I would not have noticed whether someone said either.

Hummmmm: neither had I, must keep my ears open for it.
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