to·​ward | \ˈtō-ərd, ˈtȯ(-ə)rd \
variants: or towards \ ˈtō-​ərd(z) , ˈtȯ(-​ə)rd(z), tə-​ˈwȯrd(z), ˈtwȯrd(z) \

Definition of toward 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : in the direction of driving toward town

2a : along a course leading to a long stride toward disarmament

b : in relation to an attitude toward life

3a : 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

5a : 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


to·​ward | \ˈtō-ərd, ˈtȯ(-ə)rd \

Definition of toward (Entry 2 of 2)

1 or less commonly towards \ 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

2a obsolete : quick to learn : apt

b : propitious, favoring a toward breeze

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of toward in a Sentence


The bus is heading toward town. She took a step toward the door. They live out towards the edge of town. We're thinking of taking a vacation towards the end of the month. Efforts toward peace have been largely unsuccessful.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition

The move toward legalization would put New York among the growing number of states to legalize the drug, including California, Colorado and Washington. New York Times, "Cuomo Moves Closer to Marijuana Legalization in New York," 13 July 2018 Will Flannigan, The Republic | The National Weather Service was tracking another dust storm moving north through Pinal County toward Phoenix late Tuesday afternoon. Nathan J. Fish, azcentral, "Dust storm moving through Pinal County toward Phoenix area," 10 July 2018 Just as Matthew was expected to move west toward Palm Beach County, the center of the storm broadened, helping save the tricounty area from a direct hit. Marcia Heroux Pounds,, "Will FPL customers get Hurricane Matthew refund? Commission to vote Tuesday," 9 July 2018 Beryl is moving toward the west-northwest near 23 mph, and tropical-storm-force winds extend out 45 miles from the storm’s center. Roger Simmons,, "Tropical Storm Beryl picks up speed, expected to bring wind and rain to Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands," 8 July 2018 The Orioles continue to move quickly toward trading shortstop Manny Machado in advance of this month’s non-waiver trade deadline and are in the process of fielding offers from seven different teams, according to an industry source. Eduardo A. Encina,, "Orioles continue to move quickly to trade Manny Machado," 7 July 2018 Farchione says treatment for the condition is increasingly moving toward helping patients reframe their fear response, and adds that virtual reality flight simulators may help as well. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Why Some People Have a Crippling Fear of Flying — and How They Can Overcome It," 6 July 2018 The video opens with Jenner walking toward a small brown home with a little white fence in front. Olivia Harrison,, "We Would Like To Live In The House That Kylie Jenner Is Building For Her Dogs, Please," 5 July 2018 That's why the country is taking steps to make life better for LGBT people, including moving toward a ban on conversion therapy. Elly Belle, Teen Vogue, "The U.K.'s LGBT Action Plan Includes Banning Conversion Therapy," 3 July 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of toward


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


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

History and Etymology for toward


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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about toward

Dictionary Entries near toward








Statistics for toward

Last Updated

7 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for toward

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for toward



English Language Learners Definition of toward

: in the direction of (something or someone)

—used to indicate the direction faced by something

: near (a particular place)


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

Kids Definition of toward

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 : near entry 2 I awoke toward morning.

6 : as part of the payment for She put money toward a new car.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on toward

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


a trusted follower

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
True or False

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


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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