I just came across a word I had not seen in years—"froward"—and I realized that back when I saw it occasionally, I didn't know what it meant. It was a read-over word for me then (see Read-Over Words). But today I was so delighted to see it that I bestirred myself to look up its definition.
Here goes: "of a person, difficult to deal with; contrary." That makes me wonder why I have not heard "froward" more often and in connection with myself! It comes to us from the Old English frāward, meaning leading away from, and based on Old Norse frá, meaning simply "from."
The "ward" part implies direction, as in "windward" or "homeward." Froward, then, is the opposite of toward. It's going away from something, rather than to something. "You can go toward that nonsense if you want," the stubborn Old Englishman must have said. "I am definitely going froward it."
Rather easy to see how it evolved to apply to a cantankerous person. Yes, at times I feel quite froward. When I listen to the news of an increasingly intrusive and cockeyed world, I feel a strong urge to hasten froward it.