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[fawrd, fohrd] /fɔrd, foʊrd/
a place where a river or other body of water is shallow enough to be crossed by wading.
verb (used with object)
to cross (a river, stream, etc.) at a ford.
Origin of ford
before 900; Middle English (noun), Old English; cognate with Old Frisian forda, German Furt; akin to Old Norse fjǫrthr, fare, port1
Related forms
fordable, adjective
unfordable, adjective
unforded, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for fording
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The recent rains have raised the river above the fording mark.

  • fording a river was usually tiresome, and sometimes dangerous.

  • His stately house of fording could be seen on a clear day from the minster tower.

    The Nebuly Coat John Meade Falkner
  • The new lord had come back to fording full of splendid purpose.

    The Nebuly Coat John Meade Falkner
  • Why, above all, had he come down to fording to have his suspicions confirmed?

    The Nebuly Coat John Meade Falkner
  • Every servant in the house would know how he had come to fording with a picture.

    The Nebuly Coat John Meade Falkner
  • It was an odd thing that Sharnall had not come home; Sharnall must have gone to fording.

    The Nebuly Coat John Meade Falkner
  • We made the trip in four weeks, fording all rivers and streams on the way.

  • There was no foot-bridge and but one way to get to the island, that of fording the river.

British Dictionary definitions for fording


a shallow area in a river that can be crossed by car, horseback, etc
(transitive) to cross (a river, brook, etc) over a shallow area
Derived Forms
fordable, adjective
Word Origin
Old English; related to Old Frisian forda, Old High German furt ford, Latin porta door, portusport1


Ford Maddox (ˈmædəks) original name Ford Madox Hueffer. 1873–1939, English novelist, editor, and critic; works include The Good Soldier (1915) and the war tetralogy Parade's End (1924–28).
GeraldR(udolph). 1913–2006, US politician; 38th president of the US (1974–77)
Harrison. born 1942, US film actor. His films include Star Wars (1977) and its sequels, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and its sequels, Bladerunner (1982), Clear and Present Danger (1994), and What Lies Beneath (2000)
Henry. 1863–1947, US car manufacturer, who pioneered mass production
John. 1586–?1639, English dramatist; author of revenge tragedies such as 'Tis Pity She's a Whore (1633)
John, real name Sean O'Feeney. 1895–1973, US film director, esp of Westerns such as Stagecoach (1939) and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fording



Old English ford "shallow place where water can be crossed," from Proto-Germanic *furdhus (cf. Old Frisian forda, Old High German furt, German Furt "ford"), from PIE *prtu- "a going, a passage" (cf. Latin portus "harbor," originally "entrance, passage;" Old Welsh rit, Welsh rhyd "ford;" Old English faran "to go;" see port (n.1)). The line of automobiles is named for U.S. manufacturer Henry Ford (1863-1947).



1610s, from ford (n.). Related: Forded; fording.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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