preposition to·ward \ ˈtō-ərd , ˈtȯ(-ə)rd \
variants: or towards play \ˈtō-ərd(z), ˈtȯ(-ə)rd(z), tə-ˈwȯrd(z), ˈtwȯrd(z)\
|Updated on: 18 Jul 2018

Definition of toward

1 : in the direction of
  • driving toward town
2 a : along a course leading to
  • a long stride toward disarmament
b : in relation to
  • an attitude toward life
3 a : at a point in the direction of : near
  • a cottage somewhere up toward the lake
b : in such a position as to be in the direction of
  • your back was toward me
4 : not long before
  • toward the end of the afternoon
5 a : in the way of help or assistance in
  • did all he could toward raising campaign funds
b : for the partial payment of
  • proceeds go toward the establishment of a scholarship

Examples of toward in a Sentence

  1. The bus is heading toward town.

  2. She took a step toward the door.

  3. They live out towards the edge of town.

  4. We're thinking of taking a vacation towards the end of the month.

  5. Efforts toward peace have been largely unsuccessful.

Recent Examples of toward from the Web

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

First Known Use of toward

before 12th century

in the meaning defined at sense 1

See Words from the same year
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toward Synonyms

Related Words



in regard to, in respect to, in view of, with regard to, with respect to;



adjective to·ward \ ˈtō-ərd , ˈtȯ(-ə)rd \

Definition of toward

1 or less commonly towards play \ˈtō-ərdz, ˈtȯ(-ə)rdz\
[Middle English towardes, from Old English tōweardes, preposition, toward, from tōweard, adjective]
a : coming soon : imminent
b : happening at the moment : afoot
2 a obsolete : quick to learn : apt
b : propitious, favoring
  • a toward breeze

Origin and Etymology of toward

Middle English toward, from Old English tōweard facing, imminent, from , preposition, to + -weard -ward

TOWARD Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of toward for English Language Learners

  • : in the direction of (something or someone)

  • —used to indicate the direction faced by something

  • : near (a particular place)

TOWARD Defined for Kids


preposition to·ward \ ˈtō-ərd , tə-ˈwȯrd \
variants: or towards \ˈtō-ərdz, tə-ˈwȯrdz\

Definition of toward for Students

1 : in the direction of
  • We're heading toward town.
2 : along a course leading to
  • They made efforts toward peace.
3 : in regard to
  • I like his attitude toward life.
4 : so as to face
  • Their backs were toward me.
5 : 2near
  • I awoke toward morning.
6 : as part of the payment for
  • She put money toward a new car.

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to hasten

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