[ wawrd ]
/ wɔrd /


verb (used with object)

Nearby words

  1. warbler,
  2. warbling vireo,
  3. warburg,
  4. warburg, otto heinrich,
  5. warchalking,
  6. ward eight,
  7. ward heeler,
  8. ward off,
  9. ward, artemas,
  10. ward, artemus

Origin of ward

before 900; (noun) Middle English warde, Old English weard; (v.) Middle English warden, Old English weardian; cognate with Middle Dutch waerden, German warten; cf. guard

Related formsward·less, adjective


[ wawrd ]
/ wɔrd /



a native English suffix denoting spatial or temporal direction, as specified by the initial element: toward; seaward; afterward; backward.
Also -wards.

Origin of -ward

Middle English; Old English -weard towards; cognate with German -wärts; akin to Latin vertere to turn (see verse)

Usage note

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

Examples from the Web for ward

British Dictionary definitions for ward


/ (wɔːd) /



(tr) archaic to guard or protect
See also ward off

Derived Formswardless, adjective

Word Origin for ward

Old English weard protector; related to Old High German wart, Old Saxon ward, Old Norse vorthr. See guard


/ (wɔːd) /


Dame Barbara (Mary), Baroness Jackson. 1914–81, British economist, environmentalist, and writer. Her books include Spaceship Earth (1966)
Mrs Humphry, married name of Mary Augusta Arnold. 1851–1920, English novelist. Her novels include Robert Elsmere (1888) and The Case of Richard Meynell (1911)
Sir Joseph George. 1856–1930, New Zealand statesman; prime minister of New Zealand (1906–12; 1928–30)



(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

Word Origin and History for ward
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for ward


[ wôrd ]


A room in a hospital usually holding six or more patients.
A division in a hospital for the care of a particular group of patients.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.