a native English suffix denoting spatial or temporal direction, as specified by the initial element: toward; seaward; afterward; backward.
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Origin of -ward
Middle English; Old English -weard towards; cognate with German -wärts; akin to Latin vertere to turn (see verse)
Both -ward and -wards occur in such words as backward, forward, upward, and toward. The -ward form is by far the more common in edited American English writing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for -ward
(forming adjectives) indicating direction towardsa backward step; heavenward progress
(forming adverbs) a variant and the usual US and Canadian form of -wards
Word Origin for -ward
Old English -weard towards
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