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  1. a person charged with the care or custody of persons, animals, or things; keeper.
  2. the chief administrative officer in charge of a prison.
  3. any of various public officials charged with superintendence, as over a port or wildlife.
  4. air-raid warden.
  5. firewarden.
  6. (in Connecticut) the chief executive officer of a borough.
  7. (formerly) the principal official in a region, town, etc.
  8. British.
    1. (initial capital letter)a traditional title of the president or governor of certain schools and colleges: Warden of Merton College.
    2. a member of a livery company of the City of London.
  9. Canadian. the head of certain county or local councils.
  10. a member of the governing body of a guild.
  11. a churchwarden.
  12. a gatekeeper.
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Origin of warden

1175–1225; Middle English wardein < Old French (northeast dial.), equivalent to ward- (root of warder to guard; see ward) + -ein, variant of -ien, -enc < Germanic -ing -ing3
Related formsward·en·ship, nounsub·war·den, nounsub·war·den·ship, nounun·der·war·den, noun


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noun British.
  1. any of several pears having a crisp, firm flesh, used in cookery.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for warden

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The outrage on the Warden was not so grotesque, but the effect was the same.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • He wore no collar nor any coat; nor did he bring one with him, so the Warden said.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • There was nothing of the Warden's estimate in these eyes; nothing of cruelty nor deceit nor greed.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • I waited in the Warden's office until the deputies came for the prisoner.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • The guard treated him unfairly, lied about him to the warden, lost his credits, persecuted him.

    White Fang

    Jack London

British Dictionary definitions for warden


  1. a person who has the charge or care of something, esp a building, or someone
  2. any of various public officials, esp one responsible for the enforcement of certain regulations
  3. a person employed to patrol a national park or safari park
  4. mainly US and Canadian the chief officer in charge of a prison
  5. British the principal or president of any of various universities or colleges
  6. See churchwarden (def. 1)
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Derived Formswardenry, noun

Word Origin

C13: from Old Northern French wardein, from warder to guard, of Germanic origin; see guard


  1. a variety of pear that has crisp firm flesh and is used for cooking
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Word Origin

C15: of obscure origin
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 warden


early 13c., "one who guards," from Old North French wardein, from Frankish *warding- (cf. Old French guardenc), from *wardon "to watch, guard" (see ward (v.)). Meaning "governor of a prison" is recorded from c.1300.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper