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UNTOWARD

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UNTOWARD

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:32 pm

• untoward •


Pronunciation: ên-tow-êrd • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Not showing a disposition or inclination to do something, as untoward for math. 2. Difficult to manage or manipulate, as an untoward lock of hair. 3. Wrong, bad, adverse, unpropitious, as an untoward storm. 4. Awkward, clumsy, unseemly, as an untoward remark.

Notes: The Oxford English Dictionary offers ten different definitions for this word accompanied by 69 examples: surely it behooves us to make sure this word does not fall by the wayside. It even comes fully equipped with an adverb, untowardly, and a noun, untowardness.

In Play: I have ordered the meanings by their age rather than by the order of their importance. We should begin with the fourth sense of today's word, which is its semantic status today: "I could ignore Frieda Gogh checking her watch repeatedly during tonight's lecture, but I though it untoward of her to shake it several times." But remember the word still means "difficult to manage": "I've agreed to keep Gwendolyn's rather untoward cat while she is out of the country."

Word History: Today's Good Word comprises the negative prefix un- + the adverb toward. The question now is: how did these two pieces of the compound come to give it the meaning it has today? (1) Untoward began its life as the opposite of the adjective toward, which once meant "willing, being up to it". (2) Someone who is disinclined to do what he or she is told, is "difficult to manage". (3) Someone who is difficult to manage tends to be perceived by those who are trying to manage them as "wrong, bad, adverse". (4) The last step in the process that brings us to the meaning we have today is 'semantic softening', the softening of the previous meaning of the word. (I have been a bit untoward in neglecting to recognize the good work of the editors of this series. They have been a very reliable lot, prereading and commenting on all the Good Words every day for many, many years. Paul Ogden, Luciano Eduardo de Oliveira, and Mary Jane Stoneburg, I offer you my warmest gratitude. So should we all.)
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Re: UNTOWARD

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:46 am

We also would be untoward in failing to acknowledging
them as well, especially now that we know who they are.
And we would be untoward in thanking you Dr., your
word of the day is the first thing I open each day (after
letting the dog out, that is.)
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: UNTOWARD

Postby misterdoe » Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:57 pm

LukeJavan8 wrote:your
word of the day is the first thing I open each day (after
letting the dog out, that is.)

So you let the dog out and manage your computer with your eyes closed? :lol:
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Re: UNTOWARD

Postby Slava » Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:59 pm

misterdoe wrote:
LukeJavan8 wrote:your
word of the day is the first thing I open each day (after
letting the dog out, that is.)

So you let the dog out and manage your computer with your eyes closed? :lol:
Instinct, must be.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
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Re: UNTOWARD

Postby MTC » Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:06 am

Untoward is an unfortunate choice of words to highlight the accomplishments of Paul Ogden, Luciano Eduardo de Oliveira, and Mary Jane Stoneburg. Now that their well-deserved moment in the sun has finally come they deserve better. Any of dozens of words would have been a more appropriate choice: take eleemosynary, altruistic, or astute to name but a few. No slight was intended, I'm sure, but the stagecraft could have been better managed.
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Re: UNTOWARD

Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:30 am

Slava wrote:
misterdoe wrote:
LukeJavan8 wrote:your
word of the day is the first thing I open each day (after
letting the dog out, that is.)

So you let the dog out and manage your computer with your eyes closed? :lol:
Instinct, must be.



I know you are teasing me, but I am thick today:
you've lost me.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: UNTOWARD

Postby misterdoe » Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:30 pm

You said the Word of the Day is the first thing you open. That means you do it with your eyes closed... :wink:
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Re: UNTOWARD

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:49 am

And that is very true. My eyes are not open until
at least 4 cups of coffee. Can let the dog out
and turn on the computer by rote.

(Silly me, thanks, I get it now.) (Mornings are not my thing.)
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