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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition And $30 million would go toward speeding the manufacture of vectors, such as modified viruses, for delivering gene therapy and gene editing tools into the body. Jocelyn Kaiser, Science | AAAS, "National Institutes of Health would see 7% cut in 2021 under White House plan," 10 Feb. 2020 Cincinnati Enquirer SHARONVILLE - The fight for Greater Miami Conference basketball supremacy took a lean toward Lakota East Friday night. Scott Springer,, "Lakota East manufactures a win over Princeton to hold serve in GMC basketball," 8 Feb. 2020 The official after-party, the Governors Ball, hosted by Wolfgang Puck, will lean heavily toward vegetarian dishes. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "How to watch the 2020 Oscars: Everything you should know about Sunday's Academy Awards," 7 Feb. 2020 Valentine's Day Macabre If your idea of romance leans toward the dark side, meet Han. Weldon B. Johnson, azcentral, "Looking for a romantic Valentine's Day weekend? Take a road trip," 7 Feb. 2020 Blank told the regents that the portion of state funding going toward UW-Madison's budget is now below the average its public Big 10 peers receive. Devi Shastri, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Morgridges' latest multimillion-dollar gift to UW will support faculty recruitment and retention," 6 Feb. 2020 In the crowd was retiree Ruth Holton-Hodson, a Democrat from Sacramento, who is leaning toward Bloomberg as the most likely choice to defeat Trump. Michael R. Blood,, "Snubbing Iowa, Bloomberg charts his own path in 2020 contest," 3 Feb. 2020 With that said, fans are also leaning toward the Robot being Billy Ray Cyrus. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "Who Is the Robot on ‘The Masked Singer’? These Fan Theories Sound Pretty Spot On," 3 Feb. 2020 In Iowa, where the caucuses are just a few days away, the average cost for child care is about $10,000 per year – but single parents with multiple children may see up to 70% of their income go toward care. CBS News, "How the high cost of child care is affecting Iowa voters," 31 Jan. 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.

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

Time Traveler for toward

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for toward

Last Updated

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Toward.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on toward

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for toward

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with toward

Spanish Central: Translation of toward

Nglish: Translation of toward for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of toward for Arabic Speakers

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!