ward

noun
\ ˈwȯrd \

Definition of ward

 (Entry 1 of 10)

1a : the action or process of guarding
b : a body of guards
2 : the state of being under guard especially : custody
3a : the inner court of a castle or fortress
b : a division (such as a cell or block) of a prison
c : a division in a hospital especially : a large room in a hospital where a number of patients often requiring similar treatment are accommodated
4a : a division of a city for representative, electoral, or administrative purposes
b : a division of some English and Scottish counties corresponding to a hundred
c : the Mormon local congregation having auxiliary organizations (such as Sunday schools and relief societies) and one or more quorums of each office of the Aaronic priesthood
5 : a projecting ridge of metal in a lock casing or keyhole permitting only the insertion of a key with a corresponding notch also : a corresponding notch in a bit of a key
6 : a person or thing under guard, protection, or surveillance: such as
a : a minor subject to wardship
b : a person who by reason of incapacity (such as minority or mental illness) is under the protection of a court either directly or through a guardian appointed by the court

called also ward of court

c : a person or body of persons under the protection or tutelage of a government
7 : a means of defense : protection

ward

verb
warded; warding; wards

Definition of ward (Entry 2 of 10)

transitive verb

1 : to keep watch over : guard
2 : to turn aside (something threatening) : deflect usually used with off ward off a blowtrying to ward off a cold
variants: or less commonly -wards

Definition of -ward (Entry 3 of 10)

1 : that moves, tends, faces, or is directed toward riverward
2 : that occurs or is situated in the direction of leftward
variants: or -wards

Definition of -ward (Entry 4 of 10)

1 : in a (specified) spatial or temporal direction upward afterward
2 : toward a (specified) point, position, or area earthward

Ward

biographical name (1)
\ ˈwȯrd \

Definition of Ward (Entry 5 of 10)

(Aaron) Montgomery 1843–1913 American merchant

Ward

biographical name (2)

Definition of Ward (Entry 6 of 10)

Ar*te*mas \ ˈär-​tə-​məs \ 1727–1800 American general in Revolution

Ward

biographical name (3)

Definition of Ward (Entry 7 of 10)

Artemus — see Charles Farrar browne

Ward

biographical name (4)

Definition of Ward (Entry 8 of 10)

Barbara 1914–1981 Baroness Jackson of Lodsworth English economist

Ward

biographical name (5)

Definition of Ward (Entry 9 of 10)

Sir Joseph George 1856–1930 New Zealand statesman

Ward

biographical name (6)

Definition of Ward (Entry 10 of 10)

Mary Augusta 1851–1920 Mrs. Humphry Ward née Arnold English novelist

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of ward in a Sentence

Noun

She works in the cancer ward. the council representative from Ward 22 They were wards of the state.

Verb

vowed that he would take whatever measures were necessary to ward the nation's people

Adjective suffix

a rearward movement of troops
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Her mother, Sandy – a former North Philadelphia ward leader and onetime wife of former State Rep. Ralph Acosta – also turned government witness and is expected to be sentenced later this month. Jeremy Roebuck, Philly.com, "Philly politico Renee Tartaglione sentenced to nearly 7 years in prison," 12 July 2018 After several stings in psychiatric wards, Naomi looks quite different and her hands constantly shake because of the effects of her prescription medications. Megan Friedman, Country Living, "Naomi Judd Reveals She's Been Battling 'Extreme' Depression," 6 Dec. 2016 As vice president, Bush once visited a children’s leukemia ward in Krakow. WSJ, "Notable & Quotable: The Real George H.W. Bush," 5 Dec. 2018 As Vice President, Bush once visited a children's Leukemia ward in Krakow. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Jon Meacham's Eulogy for George H.W. Bush: Read What the President's Biographer Had to Say," 5 Dec. 2018 Chest heaving and eyes fluttering, the 3-year-old boy lay silently on a hospital ward in the highland town of Hajjah, a bag of bones fighting for breath. Declan Walsh, The Seattle Times, "The tragedy of Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen," 26 Oct. 2018 Taylor was inspired to get involved with the camp after touring Memorial Sloan Kettering’s pediatric cancer ward in New York City. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "A Summer Camp for Kids With Cancer Got a Fashionable Makeover," 20 June 2018 Shinjuku, a ward in Tokyo that is popular with visitors, is banning home-owners in residential areas from renting out their homes from Mondays to Thursdays. The Economist, "Why Japan’s sharing economy is tiny," 14 June 2018 Michele Smith — whose ward is near site — said General Iron would be leaving. Ryan Ori, chicagotribune.com, "General Iron to sell North Side land site, move out in 2020," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But in the spirit of taking a 360-degree approach to prevention and healing in 2019, here Bhatia lays out an easy beginner's guide to naturally warding off the basic cold and flu this winter. 1. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "6 All-Natural Strategies for Fighting the Cold and Flu This Winter," 8 Jan. 2019 For me, as a formerly undocumented young woman and the daughter of undocumented immigrants, makeup has become a talisman—an attempt to ward off evil. Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, Glamour, "I'm an Immigrant. When I Spend Money on Makeup, I'm Paying to Feel Safe.," 17 Dec. 2018 China’s strong property market and construction sector have been the main factors warding off a deeper downturn and bigger debt problems—if that now goes, the country will be in serious trouble. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "Ahead of Trump-Xi Meeting, Darkening Clouds in China," 30 Nov. 2018 When the sun sets on summer, the cold weather-averse must take special care to ward off the winter blues. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Is This the Original SAD Lamp? The Best Tropical Light Fixtures to Ward Off Seasonal Blues," 12 Oct. 2018 On social media, parents questioned if the missives were designed to ward them off attending the meeting so that the school board could pass the plan with as little pushback as possible. Bethany Barnes, OregonLive.com, "Once again, Portland Public School botches community outreach over school relocation," 30 May 2018 Stephen Curry forced LeBron and the Cavaliers to reckon with that fact during Game 2 of the NBA Finals, when his hot shooting seemed to ward off Cleveland at every turn. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "Stephen Curry's Shooting Bucks Conventional Math, Breaks Cavs' Resolve in Game 2," 4 June 2018 Normally that layer should lock in enough moisture to keep your skin hydrated and supple while also warding off bacteria, irritants, allergens, and other substances that can cause aggravation, according to the Mayo Clinic. Korin Miller, SELF, "Does Coconut Oil Actually Work Any Magic on Eczema?," 19 July 2018 Vitamin C Everyone touts vitamin C for its abilities to ward off colds and flu, but this potent antioxidant may also improve skin's texture and appearance. Amy Capetta, Woman's Day, "5 Anti-Aging Supplements That May Actually Work," 16 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ward.' 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 ward

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ward

Noun

Middle English, from Old English weard & Anglo-French warde, garde, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German warta act of watching, Old English warian to beware of, guard, wær careful — more at guard, wary

Verb

Middle English, from Old English weardian & Anglo-French warder, garder, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German wartēn to watch, Old Norse vartha to guard, Old English weard ward

Adjective suffix

-ward from Middle English, from Old English -weard; akin to Old High German -wart, -wert -ward, Latin vertere to turn; -wards from -wards, adverb suffix — more at worth

Adverb suffix

-ward from Middle English, from Old English -weard, from -weard, adjective suffix; -wards from Middle English, from Old English -weardes, genitive singular neuter of -weard, adjective suffix

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ward

Dictionary Entries near ward

warcraft

war crime

war cry

ward

-ward

Ward

wardable

Statistics for ward

Last Updated

4 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ward

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ward

ward

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ward

: a section in a hospital for patients needing a particular kind of care
US : a section in a prison
: one of the sections into which a city or town is divided for the purposes of an election

ward

noun
\ ˈwȯrd \

Kids Definition of ward

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : a large room in a hospital where a number of patients often needing similar treatment are cared for
2 : one of the parts into which a town or city is divided for management
3 : a person under the protection of a guardian

ward

verb
warded; warding

Kids Definition of ward (Entry 2 of 4)

: to avoid being hit or affected by Wear a sweater to ward off the cold.
\ wərd\
variants: also -wards \ wərdz \

Kids Definition of -ward

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : that moves, faces, or is pointed toward windward
2 : that is found in the direction of
variants: or -wards

Kids Definition of -ward (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : in a specified direction upward
2 : toward a specified place

ward

noun
\ ˈwȯ(ə)rd \

Medical Definition of ward

: a division in a hospital especially : a large room in a hospital where a number of patients often requiring similar treatment are accommodated a diabetic ward

Keep scrolling for more

ward

noun
\ ˈwȯrd \

Legal Definition of ward

1 : a division of a city for representative, electoral, or administrative purposes
2a : a person who by reason of incapacity (as minority or incompetency) is under the control of a guardian
b : a person who by reason of incapacity is under the protection of a court either directly or through a guardian appointed by the court

called also ward of the court

— compare interdict

Other Words from ward

wardship noun

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on ward

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ward

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ward

Spanish Central: Translation of ward

Nglish: Translation of ward for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ward for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ward

What made you want to look up ward? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

irregularly rounded

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!