ward

noun
\ ˈwȯrd How to pronounce ward (audio) \

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 How to pronounce Ward (audio) \

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 How to pronounce ˈär-tə-məs (audio)\ 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

When the woman was transferred from the maternity ward to the ICU, which is in a different building, none of the suspicions came with her. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "The Airplanes That Rescue Ebola Patients," 5 July 2019 The private maternity ward has also hosted famous mothers like Sarah, Duchess of York, Victoria Beckham, Mel B, and Jerry Hall. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "There's Something Special About Meghan Markle on Royal Baby Archie's Birth Certificate," 17 May 2019 To the consternation of many royal-watchers, the couple chose to reveal the baby two days after the birth instead of presenting the baby at the maternity ward. Heather Brady, National Geographic, "Vintage photos of royal families from all over the world," 8 May 2019 Older siblings George, now five years old, and Charlotte, who's three, also made an appearance outside of the maternity ward. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton and Prince William React to the Royal Baby's Arrival," 6 May 2019 Juba’s Teaching Hospital has 13 beds in its delivery ward yet about 25 women give birth there daily, according to staff. Sam Mednick, The Seattle Times, "In South Sudan, midwives bring down deaths despite the odds," 13 Apr. 2019 The Farmpark bills the Well Bred Shed in the Arena building as a maternity ward this time of year. James Ewinger, cleveland.com, "Babies abound at Lake Metroparks' Farmpark (photos, video)," 21 Mar. 2018 All four have been moved to an isolation ward but have not been officially diagnosed with the virus yet. Faiz Akthar, CNN, "India fears new outbreak of lethal Nipah virus," 5 June 2019 He was later taken to the hospital and several hours later was moved to a toxicology ward, said Ms. Nikulshina. Thomas Grove, WSJ, "Russian Pussy Riot Member Is Hospitalized Amid Fears of Poisoning," 13 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Papers, rubbish and umbrellas — a protest symbol in Hong Kong used to ward off sun, rain and pepper spray — were strewn in lobbies and rooms. Washington Post, "Arrests made over Hong Kong protests, legislature break-in," 3 July 2019 Sunscreen helps ward off exposure to harmful UVA and UVB rays, and sunburns. Houston Chronicle, "Accessories to help you enjoy life under the sun," 27 June 2019 That sticky stuff contains some chemicals called withanolides, which, along with the husk, help ward off insects. James P. Dewan, Twin Cities, "Dishes to make with tomatillos, plus a trick for getting those sticky husks off," 4 June 2019 Farmer and Ryan worked with local sagebrush, which produce copious amounts of methyl jasmonate, an airborne organic chemical that Ryan thought plants were using to ward off insect herbivores. Quanta Magazine, "The Secret Language of Plants," 16 Dec. 2013 Lopez makes a living off of setting screens and boxing out, by grabbing offensive boards and warding off drives to the rim. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "NBA Free Agency 2019: Top 50 Players Available," 24 June 2019 Exfoliate the area gently beforehand to get an even closer shave and ward off ingrown hairs. Megan Gustashaw, Glamour, "So You Want to Shave Your Bikini Line...," 23 Mar. 2019 Cells on the edge focus on acquiring food and warding off predators, whereas those in the core often hunker down and serve as reserves. Carrie Arnold, Quanta Magazine, "Building Codes for Bacterial Cities," 25 July 2017 The movie, which is not considered a remake of the original, will premiere 25 years after the Looney Tunes and Michael Jordan teamed up to ward off aliens. Jenna West, SI.com, "LeBron, Bugs Bunny and More: Here's Everything We Know About 'Space Jam 2'," 20 June 2019

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

22 Jul 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 How to pronounce ward (audio) \

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 How to pronounce ward (audio) \

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 How to pronounce ward (audio) \

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

something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!