for·​ward | \ ˈfȯr-wərd How to pronounce forward (audio) also ˈfō- or ˈfȯ-, Southern also ˈfär-\

Definition of forward

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : near, being at, or belonging to the forepart the forward section of the main deck
b : situated in advance Baggage is carried in the forward cars of the train.
2a : strongly inclined : ready always forward to criticize his neighbors
b : lacking modesty or reserve : brash Poorly disciplined children are often distressingly forward.
3 : notably advanced or developed : precocious The child is very forward at walking.
4 : moving, tending, or leading toward a position in front checked the forward movement of the dog also : moving toward an opponent's goal
5a : advocating an advanced policy in the direction of what is considered progress a firm forward policy
b : extreme, radical on the forward fringe of conservatism
6 : of, relating to, or getting ready for the future forward buying of produce



Definition of forward (Entry 2 of 4)

: to or toward what is ahead or in front from that time forward moved slowly forward


forwarded; forwarding; forwards

Definition of forward (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to help onward : promote forwarded his friend's career
2a : to send forward : transmit will forward the goods on receipt of your check
b : to send or ship onward from an intermediate post or station in transit forward mail



Definition of forward (Entry 4 of 4)

: a player who plays at the front the team's formation near the opponent's goal a forward in hockey

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Other Words from forward


forwardly adverb
forwardness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for forward

Synonyms: Adjective

bold, familiar, free, immodest, overfamiliar, presuming, presumptuous

Synonyms: Adverb

ahead, along, forth, forwards, on, onward (also onwards)

Synonyms: Verb

advance, cultivate, encourage, foster, further, incubate, nourish, nurse, nurture, promote

Antonyms: Adjective

modest, unassuming

Antonyms: Verb

discourage, frustrate, hinder, inhibit

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Choose the Right Synonym for forward


advance, promote, forward, further mean to help (someone or something) to move ahead. advance stresses effective assisting in hastening a process or bringing about a desired end. advance the cause of peace promote suggests an encouraging or fostering and may denote an increase in status or rank. a campaign to promote better health forward implies an impetus forcing something ahead. a wage increase would forward productivity further suggests a removing of obstacles in the way of a desired advance. used the marriage to further his career

Examples of forward in a Sentence


the forward deck of a boat the forward movement of history a very forward young woman


Her long hair fell forward as she bent to tie her shoes. He pushed the throttle forward. She took a small step forward. The narrative moves backward and forward in time. The technology has taken a big step forward.


Your letter will be forwarded to the appropriate department. Please forward my mail to my new address.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

There are two objectives when skimming across water: keeping one's body above the surface, and forward propulsion. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Geckos’ new superpower is running on water; now we know how they do it," 6 Dec. 2018 Vasquenza, a forward player, was prolific in the attacking third over the course of his 79 appearance over four years at Xavier. Patrick Brennan,, "Live updates: Area prospects at the 2018 MLS Superdraft," 19 Jan. 2018 In an industry that is losing ground to tech-forward toys, Barbie reported 12 percent growth in gross sales in the last quarter of 2018, a rise attributed in part to a more diverse array of dolls that resonate better with socially conscious parents. Brennan Kilbane, Allure, "Barbie's 60th Birthday Wish Was to Be More Inclusive. Now What?," 2 May 2019 More recently, brands like Madewell, J.Crew and other fashion-forward brands have began working with the Fair Trade USA. Jessica Andrews, Teen Vogue, "Rachael Wang On Fair Trade’s First-Ever Lookbook, Activism and Sustainability," 29 Apr. 2019 The push-forward speed control allows a great deal of precision in mowing speed, though the lever has a tendency to rock when used on rough, non-lawn surfaces and side hills. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The 7 Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers," 11 Apr. 2019 Coincidentally, Dolce & Gabbana's Alta Moda runway show took place the same weekend as the couple's nuptials—and this fashion-forward bride embraced the happy coincidence. Tamara Abraham, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Epic Lake Como Wedding Had It All: An Alta Moda Photoshoot, Fireworks, and a Surprise Opera," 11 Apr. 2019 The software then goes through the example images, completing a two-step process for each one: The feed-forward step computes the network's output values, given the input image and the network's current parameters. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "How computers got shockingly good at recognizing images," 18 Dec. 2018 The politician was dressed a bright fuchsia suit, clearly a fashion-forward choice for someone working in the government. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Proves Pantsuits Don't Have to Be Boring," 4 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Digital First Media took a step forward in its hostile bid for Gannett Co., with a debt specialist indicating Digital First could raise the funds needed to pay for the $1.4 billion takeover. Cara Lombardo And Lukas I Alpert, WSJ, "Oaktree Capital Expresses Confidence in Digital First’s Bid for Gannett," 20 Mar. 2019 Strobe weapons took a shining leap forward in the 2000s with new high-intensity LED flashlights. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "The Long, Weird History of Strobe Weapons," 11 Feb. 2019 Instead, the final version of the bill takes some tentative steps forward for animals. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "Dog and cat meat is now, finally, illegal," 18 Dec. 2018 Fast-forward to November of 2017, when Meghan and Harry shared their engagement with the world. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "How Birdies, the Meghan Markle-Approved Shoe Brand, Made a Slipper Fit for a Modern Princess," 27 Apr. 2019 Fast forward to today and her wardrobe is still refreshing and filled with surprises, many of which are vintage. Vogue, "Is Kourtney Actually the Best Dressed Kardashian Sister?," 18 Apr. 2019 Fast forward half a century and Leahy recalls a discussion on copyright issues with officials from DC Comics. Wilson Ring, The Seattle Times, "Batman fan Sen. Patrick Leahy writes comic book’s foreword," 30 Mar. 2019 Fast forward five months later and my hair improved a lot. Elizabeth Denton, Allure, "Virtue's New Protein Powder Made My Damaged, Color-Treated Hair Look Like New," 19 Mar. 2019 Fast forward to 50-plus years later and Mackie is still working with Cher. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Bob Mackie Didn’t Know How to Dress Cher When They First Met. Now, He’s Part of Her Fashion Legacy.," 8 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., at first sought $3.6 million for eight days of space and food, according to a December 2016 email, which was forwarded by one inaugural organizer to her colleagues. Rebecca Ballhaus, WSJ, "Trump Inaugural Committee Challenged Vendor Requests and Budgeting, Documents Show," 21 Feb. 2019 Two days after Powell submitted his Arid Lands report to Schurz, the interior secretary forwarded it along to the House, which ordered 1,800 copies printed. Johnforristerross, Longreads, "Taming the Great American Desert," 2 July 2018 The Rules Committee is scheduled on July 11 to again review the proposal before forwarding it to the full council. David Garrick,, "Long-stalled pay raises for San Diego mayor, council may be headed to ballot," 26 June 2018 The registrars then have seven days to check the names before forwarding them to the secretary of the state’s office for final review, a process that could take another week to 10 days. Daniela Altimari,, "David Stemerman Launches New Ad Buy as He Prepares to Submit Nearly 20,000 Signatures," 11 June 2018 That would give the Wings a choice among defensemen Evan Bouchard, Noah Dobson, Adam Boqvist and forwards Oliver Wahlstrom and Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "NHL mock draft 2.0: Projecting Detroit Red Wings first-round picks," 21 June 2018 The Pistons initially signed point guard Dwight Buycks and forward Luis Montero to two-way deals before last season. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons won't extend offer to Oakland's Kay Felder, a RFA," 27 June 2018 In recent months, both Amazon and Google have disallowed a practice called domain-fronting, which allowed apps like Wickr to forward their traffic through the larger network as a way of evading censorship. Russell Brandom, The Verge, "Wickr has a new plan for dodging internet blocks," 23 Aug. 2018 Troopers said the report would be forwarded to the Division of Juvenile Justice in Bethel. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "Western Alaska teen injured in propane huffing incident, troopers say," 29 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The fact that those moments came in frustrating isolation, or the fact that France’s forwards couldn’t score, or the fact that most people think now that Deschamps still is too conservative a manager for so talented a group, won’t matter. Brian Straus,, "Le Bleuprint: France Follows Familiar World Cup Path in Reaching Final," 10 July 2018 McCann and Vatrano join a crowded forward group following the addition of scoring winger Mike Hoffman. Matthew Defranks,, "Five restricted free agents receive qualifying offers from Panthers," 26 June 2018 Jalen Johnson, Manual: The 6-8 Manual forward has showed plenty of potential, averaging 22.0 points and 10.9 rebounds as a junior. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, "IndyStar basketball recruiting rankings for Indiana's 2019 class," 25 June 2018 The Capitals have been getting scoring from stars Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov and from bottom-six forwards Lars Eller and Devante-Smith Pelly, but the Golden Knights’ top two lines have been largely silent the past two games. Helene Elliott,, "Game 4 of Stanley Cup Final can be a defining moment," 3 June 2018 With 44 goals and 14 assists in 52 games for club and country, Salah has placed himself among the world's elite forwards. Matias Grez, CNN, "Mo Salah wins sixth individual award in an incredible season," 14 May 2018 Among the six newcomers are forwards Darian Jenkins and Shea Groom and Spanish defender Celia Jimenez Delgado. Jayda Evans, The Seattle Times, "As the Reign starts its 2019 season, here’s what you need to know," 13 Apr. 2019 The forward momentum puts a little more pressure on your knees, which can be bothersome for many people. Amy Marturana, SELF, "18 Lunge Variations That Will Work Your Butt From Every Angle," 5 Apr. 2019 The cyclocopter combines vertical take-off and landing with efficient forward flight and good maneuverability. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "After More Than a Century, the Cyclocopter Is Making a Comeback," 5 Apr. 2019

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

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First Known Use of forward


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


1596, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1879, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for forward

Adjective, Adverb, Verb, and Noun

Middle English, from Old English foreweard, from fore- + -weard -ward

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Statistics for forward

Last Updated

20 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for forward

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

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More Definitions for forward



English Language Learners Definition of forward

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: near or belonging to the front part of something
: moving or directed ahead or toward the front
: moving toward the future or toward a more advanced state or condition



English Language Learners Definition of forward (Entry 2 of 4)

: toward the front : to or toward what is ahead or in front
: toward the future
: to or toward a more advanced state or condition



English Language Learners Definition of forward (Entry 3 of 4)

: to send (something you have received, such as a letter) to someone else
: to send (something that has arrived, such as a letter) to another place
: to help (something) make progress or continue to a more advanced state



English Language Learners Definition of forward (Entry 4 of 4)

sports : a player who plays near the opponent's goal


for·​ward | \ ˈfȯr-wərd How to pronounce forward (audio) \

Kids Definition of forward

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : near, at, or belonging to the front part a ship's forward deck
2 : moving, tending, or leading to a position in front He made a sudden forward movement.
3 : lacking proper modesty or reserve


variants: or forwards \ ˈfȯr-​wərdz \

Kids Definition of forward (Entry 2 of 4)

: to or toward what is in front Everyone moved forward.


forwarded; forwarding

Kids Definition of forward (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : to send on or ahead forward a letter
2 : to help onward : advance forward a cause



Kids Definition of forward (Entry 4 of 4)

: a player at or near the front of his or her team or near the opponent's goal



Legal Definition of forward

: forward contract at contract

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More from Merriam-Webster on forward

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with forward

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for forward

Spanish Central: Translation of forward

Nglish: Translation of forward for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of forward for Arabic Speakers

Comments on forward

What made you want to look up forward? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a strong desire or propensity

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