\ ˈfȯrd How to pronounce ford (audio) \

Definition of ford

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a shallow part of a body of water that may be crossed by wading


forded; fording; fords

Definition of ford (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to cross (a body of water) by wading

Other Words from ford


fordable \ ˈfȯr-​də-​bəl How to pronounce ford (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for ford

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of ford in a Sentence

Noun didn't attempt getting the horses across the stream until we had reached the ford
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Dozens of motivational quotes tell us that is discomfort is where growth happens—I’ve repeated this platitude to my backpacking clients and friends while scrambling a ridgeline or taking off our hiking boots to ford an ice-cold river. Hannah Singleton, Outside Online, 31 Mar. 2022 The Jeep was compact enough to carry in gliders, could ford rivers with ease, and was extremely reliable. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 21 Sep. 2021 The OvrlandX concept could ford up to 32.1 inches of water. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, 28 Aug. 2021 The 4xe comes ready to go off-road with a two-speed transfer case that enables full-time four-wheel drive, solid Dana 44 axles, 10.8 inches of clearance, and the ability to ford up to 30 inches of water. Colin Beresford, Car and Driver, 23 Dec. 2020 Jeep says there's a total of 13.3 inches of ground clearance and that the 392 can ford 34 inches of water, 4 inches more than a Rubicon. Scott Oldham, Car and Driver, 25 Sep. 2020 Two died: a 29-year-old Swiss woman who drowned in 2010 trying to ford the Teklanika and a 24-year-old Belarus woman last year who struggled to cross the rain-swollen river after spending two nights at the bus. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, 25 Sep. 2020 It wasn’t expected that a civilian or even standard-police SUV could ford the floods — and the water was rising. Colin Warren-hicks, USA TODAY, 19 Sep. 2020 Despite the high-voltage battery pack under the rear seat and cargo floor, the 4xe can ford 30 inches of water, the same as conventionally powered Jeeps. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, 3 Sep. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ford.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ford


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


1614, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ford


Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old Norse fjǫrthr fjord, Latin portus port, Old English faran to go — more at fare

Learn More About ford

Time Traveler for ford

Time Traveler

The first known use of ford was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near ford

for crying out loud



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for ford

Cite this Entry

“Ford.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for ford


\ ˈfȯrd How to pronounce ford (audio) \

Kids Definition of ford

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a shallow place in a body of water that may be crossed by wading


forded; fording

Kids Definition of ford (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cross by wading We had to ford a stream.

Ford biographical name (1)

\ ˈfȯrd How to pronounce Ford (audio) \

Definition of Ford

 (Entry 1 of 5)

Ford Mad*ox \ ˈma-​dəks How to pronounce Ford (audio) \ 1873–1939 originally Ford Hermann Hueffer \ ˈhü-​fər How to pronounce Ford (audio) , ˈ(h)we-​fər \ English author


biographical name (2)

Definition of Ford (Entry 2 of 5)

Gerald R(udolph) 1913–2006 American politician; vice president of the U.S. (1973–74); 38th president of the U.S. (1974–77)


biographical name (3)

Definition of Ford (Entry 3 of 5)

Henry 1863–1947 American automobile manufacturer


biographical name (4)

Definition of Ford (Entry 4 of 5)

John 1586–?1639 English dramatist


biographical name (5)

Definition of Ford (Entry 5 of 5)

John 1895–1973 originally John Martin Feeney American film director

More from Merriam-Webster on ford

Nglish: Translation of ford for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ford for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!