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 toward (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 toward (audio) , ˈtȯ(-​ə)rdz How to pronounce toward (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 Sally entered the Gulf of Mexico, then turned northward toward the Gulf Coast. Leigh Morgan, al, "National Hurricane Center posts its official report on Hurricane Sally," 15 Apr. 2021 The pair turned toward the bridge that crossed the canal and climbed down the grassy slope. Leah Waters, Dallas News, "A former Mavs ManiAACs dancer’s long journey back from homelessness," 14 Apr. 2021 An investigation into the conduct of five Rocky River High School teachers expanded after a former student accused a sixth teacher at the school of past inappropriate behavior toward her. Peter Krouse, cleveland, "Insensitive comments, inappropriate behavior and unwanted contact alleged in Rocky River teacher investigation, records show," 14 Apr. 2021 With your glove on, take the oyster in your hand with the hinge facing toward you and the flat side up. Katlyn Moncada, Better Homes & Gardens, "How to Shuck Oysters Like a Pro in 3 Easy Steps," 13 Apr. 2021 The city’s very future seemed in jeopardy when the government turned toward renewables, said Bogar Montemayor, the president of the Mexican Union of Coal Producers. Los Angeles Times, "For Mexico’s president, the future isn’t renewable energy — it’s coal," 12 Apr. 2021 Serving in the 36th Infantry Division, Mr. Coolidge had arrived in France in August 1944 and quickly advanced toward the German border. Washington Post, "Charles Coolidge, Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, dies at 99," 9 Apr. 2021 The movements appear to be the largest deployment of Russian land forces toward the border with Ukraine in seven years, according to the U.S. government. New York Times, "Russian Troop Movements and Talk of Intervention Cause Jitters in Ukraine," 9 Apr. 2021 Gates, who left Microsoft’s board last year, has turned much of his attention toward fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. Momina M. Khan, Forbes, "The 10 Richest American Billionaires 2021," 6 Apr. 2021 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

17 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Toward.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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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 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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