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 Some models show a weak storm hitting the West Coast of Florida, while others show a much stronger storm lashing the East side of the state and moving toward the Carolinas. Judson Jones And Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "Record-breaking Tropical Storm Isaias is heading toward the US," 30 July 2020 Two Indian schoolgirls working on a school project have reportedlty discovered an asteroid that is slowly shifting its orbit and moving toward Earth. Nicholas Rice,, "2 Indian Girls in the 10th Grade Discover Asteroid Moving Toward Earth: 'This Was a Dream'," 29 July 2020 The Pac-12 is said to be moving toward a 10-game schedule. oregonlive, "It’s a brave new world for college athletics, and the new world is a scary place: Issues & Answers," 12 July 2020 People are moving toward the edges and are attracted to places that have light and air and space. Sam Whiting,, "The office goes open-air: How an SF couple conceived next-gen workspaces," 12 July 2020 Officials say New Hampshire has been moving toward the Republican column since John McCain lost by 10% in 2008. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "Trump heads to New Hampshire as Democratic Rust Belt 'blue wall' strengthens," 10 July 2020 Instead of moving on toward the hideous jail block, there will be something new — a work of actual architecture that speaks to both the city’s future and its past. Mark Lamster, Dallas News, "Say goodbye to the ugliest building in Dallas — and hello to new playgrounds along the Trinity," 9 July 2020 The video then shows the officer putting on surgical gloves, moving toward Garcia and pulling a handgun out of the vehicle. Fox News, "Phoenix police release bodycam video from fatal officer shooting that sparked protests," 8 July 2020 City leaders are now moving toward disbanding the police department altogether. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "America Has a Secret Police Problem," 27 June 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

2 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Toward.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 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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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

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