View synonyms for onward


[ on-werd, awn- ]


  1. toward a point ahead or in front; forward, as in space or time.

    Antonyms: backward

  2. at a position or point in advance.


  1. directed or moving onward or forward; forward.

    Antonyms: backward


/ ˈɒnwəd /


  1. directed or moving forwards, onwards, etc


  1. a variant of onwards

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Word History and Origins

Origin of onward1

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; on, -ward

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Synonym Study

See forward.

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Example Sentences

The why is important to understand so you can make a judgment for yourself on whether to mulligan or continue onward with a little yolk.

Whether or not the vaccines stop “onward transmission” of the virus is likely to be a critical variable in determining how the pandemic plays out and how soon life goes back to normal.

When the receptors bind to a taste chemical, they activate the cell to which they are attached, sending a signal onward to the brain.

In this way, Republicans are continuing in the tradition of Southern Democrats from the 1850s onward.

From Vox

Alaska Airlines has barred 237 passengers since August, and “in more than half of these incidents we also canceled onward or returning travel,” spokeswoman Cailee Olson said.

First appearing in 1779, sex-assignment surgeries became increasingly popular from the nineteenth century onward.

One example of that: Rudel was a prominent member of the neo-Nazi German Reich Party from 1953 onward.

This was not onward and upward for TV news, but it got good ratings for CNN, so expect to see more.

First he headed to Juba, South Sudan, covering the ongoing crisis there for Anadola, and then, onward to Nigeria.

But from Tora Bora onward, political life in America became one frustration after the next.

He swam with her upon the summit of the breaking Wave, lifted upon its crest, swept onward irresistibly.

In the depths of his being, below an immense horizon, shone joy, luring him onward and brightening as it did so.

But he did succeed, and the ships sailed onward as though nothing had happened.

They both rose and each carrying his hat in his hand, the better to facilitate "thinking," went silently onward again.

We were mere atoms in a vast wave of horn and bone and flesh that bore us onward as the tide floats driftwood.


Related Words

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More About Onward

What does onward mean?

Onward means about the same thing as forward—toward a point ahead or in the future.

It can be used in the context of travel through physical space or through time, but it is perhaps most commonly used when discussing progress toward a goal.

Onward can be used as either an adverb or an adjective. When used as an adverb, onward typically comes after the verb, as in We traveled onward. When onward is used as an adverb, it is interchangeable with onwards (which is only used as an adverb).

It can be used to refer to all the time after a certain point, as in These records are from 1950 onward. 

It can also be used as a kind of command or word of encouragement meaning something like move on, as in Onward, scouts! We need to reach camp before nightfall.

Onward appears in the phrase onward and upward, which is usually used in the context of progress or success.

Example: If we don’t keep moving onward and innovating, we’ll never be able to compete in this market.

Where does onward come from?

The first records of the word onward in its modern sense come from the 1300s. The suffix -ward indicates a direction based on the first part of the word. It’s used in several other common words that indicate direction of movement through space or time, such as toward, forward, backward, and afterward.

Sometimes, onward can be used in the same way as on—travel onward, travel on, move onward, move on, go onward, and go on can all mean just about the same thing. Still, -ward helps to emphasize direction and movement. In the case of onward, this movement is usually toward a goal or completion of a task. When used in the context of travel toward a destination, it can sound a bit formal or poetic. But such expressions can be used metaphorically—to journey onward can literally mean to continue traveling or it can mean to keep making progress toward a goal.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to onward?

What are some synonyms for onward?

What are some words that share a root or word element with onward

What are some words that often get used in discussing onward?


How is onward used in real life?

Onward is used less commonly than similar words like forward or ahead. It’s often associated with progress and success, especially when it’s used in the common expression onward and upward.



Try using onward!

True or False? 

When onward is used as an adverb, it can be used interchangeably with onwards.

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on view“Onward Christian Soldiers”