Word of the Day: Froward

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(adj.); willfully contrary; not easily managed; rebellious; from Middle English

“Vowel sounds work like those sliding puzzle games where you have to unscramble a picture by sliding one piece of it at a time. As soon as you move one piece, you’re left with an empty space behind you, which has to be filled by something else.”

–Dan Nosowitz, “I Made a Linguistics Professor Listen to a Blink-182 Song and Analyze the Accent”

Few music genres better fit this Word of Day’s rebellious spirit than punk: since its emergence in the 70s, it has encompassed not only its distinctive hard-edged melodies and gritty guitar riffs but a particular political, social, economic and aesthetic ethos—about as froward as you can get. At Atlas Obscura, Dan Nosowitz explores a particular moment in punk history. More accurately, he explores a particular accent that emerged in the 90s and became as distinct to the genre as its anti-establishment attitude, with the help of a linguistics professor.


Sara Menuck is currently pursuing BA in English & Professional Writing at York University, Toronto, without being very professional at all. Having interned with a variety of small press publications, she currently works as a prose reader for The Winter Tangerine Review, a department editorial assistant, and, in her free time, a teacher of music to very small, adorable children. More from this author →