to·​ward | \ ˈtō-ərd How to pronounce toward (audio) , ˈtȯ(-ə)rd How to pronounce toward (audio) \
variants: or towards \ ˈtō-​ərd(z) How to pronounce towards (audio) , 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 How to pronounce toward (audio) , ˈtȯ(-ə)rd How to pronounce toward (audio) \

Definition of toward (Entry 2 of 2)

1 or less commonly towards \ ˈtō-​ərdz How to pronounce towards (audio) , ˈtȯ(-​ə)rdz How to pronounce towards (audio) \ [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

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Examples of toward in a Sentence

Preposition 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition In the Sun Belt, Maricopa County in Arizona and Pinellas County in Florida lean toward Biden while Peach County in Georgia, New Hanover County in North Carolina, and Collin County in Texas are toss-ups. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Election forecaster: Swing-state counties that backed Trump in 2016 present Biden with road to White House," 8 Oct. 2020 The court's conservative justices seemed to lean toward Oracle's side in the dispute. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Supreme Court wrestles with Google-Oracle copyright battle that could upend tech industry," 8 Oct. 2020 The state’s third reopening phase, which begins Thursday, takes one step toward the inevitable shift indoors, by allowing restaurants to increase their dining capacity from 50% to 75%. Emily Brindley,, "As colder weather pushes Connecticut to indoor dining and gatherings, experts say risk of coronavirus spread can be mitigated but not eliminated," 8 Oct. 2020 The IndyCar team owner had already sped up Pikes Peak the year before, another monumental step in his road back toward some sort of familiarity to what his life in the IRL once was. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, "More than 20 years after devastating crash, Sam Schmidt returns to racing," 8 Oct. 2020 But four years ago, Oakland voters took a big step toward creating greater accountability over the city’s nearly 800-officer police force by approving a citizens oversight commission with the power to fire and discipline officers. Washington Post, "Protesters want to defund police. Homicides and violence are spiking. In Oakland, ideology and practicality collide.," 7 Oct. 2020 Steinmetz says the team is still in the early phases of designing the implants, and they will be tested on mice—an important step toward convincing the FDA that the implant is safe enough for a clinical trial in people. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "A Common Plant Virus Is an Unlikely Ally in the War on Cancer," 5 Oct. 2020 The Baltimore City Council on Monday night could take a step toward easing Mohite’s worries. Talia Richman,, "Baltimore City Council poised to pass job protections for hospitality workers," 5 Oct. 2020 Today is a great day to take a big step toward your goals. Tarot Astrologers,, "Daily horoscope for October 4, 2020," 4 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective As the pressure has mounted, Paul and Ally have moved toward and away from each other. Peter Libbey, New York Times, "What’s on TV Monday: ‘Breeders’ and ‘Never Have I Ever’," 27 Apr. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for toward

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for toward

Last Updated

13 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Toward.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for toward

How to pronounce toward (audio) How to pronounce toward (audio)

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 How to pronounce toward (audio) , 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.

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Comments on toward

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