Origin of forward

before 900; Middle English; Old English for(e)weard. See fore1, -ward
Related formsfor·ward·a·ble, adjectivefor·ward·ly, adverbo·ver·for·ward, adjectiveo·ver·for·ward·ly, adverbo·ver·for·ward·ness, nounre·for·ward, verb (used with object)
Can be confusedforeword forward forwards froward

Synonyms for forward

Synonym study

1. Forward, onward both indicate a direction toward the front or a movement in a frontward direction. Forward applies to any movement toward what is or is conceived to be the front or a goal: to face forward; to move forward in the aisles. Onward applies to any movement in continuance of a course: to march onward toward a goal. 9. See bold.

Antonyms for forward

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for forward

Contemporary Examples of forward

Historical Examples of forward

  • We are like men in a subterranean cave, so chained that they can look only forward to the entrance.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • And jest when I was lookin' forward to luxury and palaces in England, and everything so grand!

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Mr Clayton was pushing me forward, and urging a dagger into my hand.

  • She drew him forward a little, and her hand touched his as she did so.

  • We learn nothing, we take no forward step, except as we are whipped to it by anguish.

British Dictionary definitions for forward



directed or moving ahead
lying or situated in or near the front part of something
presumptuous, pert, or impudenta forward remark
well developed or advanced, esp in physical, material, or intellectual growth or developmentforward ideas
archaic (often postpositive) ready, eager, or willing
  1. of or relating to the future or favouring change; progressive
  2. (in combination)forward-looking
finance realting to fulfilment at a future date
NZ (of an animal) in good condition


  1. an email that has been sent to one recipient and then forwarded to another
  2. (in American football) a lineman
an attacking player in any of various sports, such as soccer, hockey, or basketball


a variant of forwards
(ˈfɔːwəd, nautical history ˈfɒrəd) towards the front or bow of an aircraft or ship
into prominence or a position of being subject to public scrutiny; out; forththe witness came forward

verb (tr)

to send forward or pass on to an ultimate destinationthe letter was forwarded from a previous address
to advance, help, or promoteto forward one's career
bookbinding to prepare (a book) for the finisher
Derived Formsforwardly, adverb

Word Origin for forward

Old English foreweard
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

Word Origin and History for forward

Old English forewearde "toward the front;" see fore + -ward. Adjectival sense of "early" is from 1520s; that of "presumptuous" is attested from 1560s.


1590s, "to help push forward," from forward (adv.). Meaning "to send (a letter, etc.) on to another destination" is from 1757. Related: Forwarded; forwarding.


Old English, "the fore or front part" of something; see forward (adv.). The position in football so called since 1879.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with forward


see backward and forward; carry forward; come forward; from this day forward; know like a book (backwards and forwards); look forward; put forward; put one's best foot forward; set forward.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.