Definition of vanward
: located in the vanguard : advanced
vanward was our Word of the Day on 07/22/2012. Hear the podcast!
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What is the Difference Between vanguard and vanward?
The troops at the head of an army are called the vanguard, and that word can also mean "the forefront of an action or movement." It was vanguard, rather than vanward, that led the way on the route into English. Vanguard was first documented in English in the 15th century. By the early 17th century, it was sometimes shortened to van-a reference might be made to an army's "van and rear." Some 200 years later vanward brought up the rear, making its English debut when writers appended -ward, an adjective suffix meaning "is situated in the direction of," to the shortened van, thereby creating a word meaning "in the forefront."
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