ward

noun
\ ˈwȯrd How to pronounce ward (audio) \

Definition of ward

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : the action or process of guarding
b : a body of guards
c(1) : a division in a hospital a maternity ward
(2) : a large room in a hospital where a number of patients often requiring similar treatment are accommodated Wallace Thurman died in 1934 in the tuberculosis ward of the New York City charity hospital on Welfare Island.— Zeese Papanikolas
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
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 4)

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 4)

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

-ward

adverb suffix
variants: or -wards

Definition of -ward (Entry 4 of 4)

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

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
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Once institutionalized, McMurphy discovers his mental ward is run by Fletcher’s cold, imposing Nurse Mildred Ratched, who keeps her patients tightly under her thumb. Andrew Dalton, BostonGlobe.com, 24 Sep. 2022 The classic film, based on Ken Kesey’s novel and exploring the repressive tendency of authority through the story of the patients and staff of a psych ward, won five Oscars in 1976, including best picture and best actor for Jack Nicholson. Pat Saperstein, Variety, 23 Sep. 2022 These sequences contribute to the disorienting effect of sudden fame that makes Marilyn fear going down the same unhinged path that put her mother in a psych ward. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Sep. 2022 For 25 years, Lichtenberg ran the psych ward at a Jerusalem hospital. New York Times, 17 May 2022 Henson's statement came one day after Jussie's brother, Jocqui Smollett, alleged that Jussie is being held in a psych ward at the Cook County Jail in a post of his own on the social platform. Nicholas Rice, PEOPLE.com, 14 Mar. 2022 The most famous of the astronauts who reached the lunar surface, Neil Armstrong, later suffered such severe depression that he was deposited in a psych ward. Jonathan Leaf, National Review, 20 Jan. 2022 Wakefield What happens when the sanest person working in a psych ward starts to lose his grip? Los Angeles Times, 18 Oct. 2021 The ward, which includes most of Lincoln Park, has been without a sitting alderman since August, when Smith retired unexpectedly. Gregory Pratt, Chicago Tribune, 19 Sep. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The 10-0 run became a 16-4 spurt that proved enough for Purdue to ward off Michigan in the final minutes. Michael Cohen, Detroit Free Press, 6 Feb. 2022 The man and his friends set up tents and chairs and wrapped the entire camp with plastic to ward off a 15-degree chill. Justin Jouvenal, Washington Post, 20 Sep. 2022 This merino wool tee from Proof is built to ward off stink, plus it’s reinforced with nylon to help keep its shape after being tossed in the wash. Kevin Cortez, Popular Mechanics, 20 Sep. 2022 To ward off a strike, Biden’s emergency board recommended pay raises of 24%, including an immediate raise of 14%, and bonuses of $5,000 over five years. Rachel Uranga, Los Angeles Times, 14 Sep. 2022 But the singer-songwriter is back with a new suite of songs to ward off any bad relationship juju. Lester Fabian Brathwaite, EW.com, 7 Sep. 2022 To ward off tyranny, power is divided among different branches and levels of government. William A. Galston, WSJ, 23 Aug. 2022 The sci-fi adventure follows a young woman, played by Sofia Boutella, in a peaceful colony on the edge of the galaxy forced to seek out help from neighboring planets to ward off an invading tyrant. Winston Cho, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Aug. 2022 And taking them off, even after a day or two, can still lower your chances of getting sick, or enable you to start preventive treatment to ward off more serious illness. Cindy Kuzma, SELF, 10 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About ward

Time Traveler for ward

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near ward

war cry

ward

-ward

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Statistics for ward

Last Updated

4 Oct 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ward.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ward. Accessed 7 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for ward

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.

-ward

adjective suffix
\ 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

-ward

adverb suffix
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 a maternity ward especially : a large room in a hospital where a number of patients often requiring similar treatment are accommodated a tuberculosis ward

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

Ward biographical name (1)

\ ˈwȯrd How to pronounce Ward (audio) \

Definition of Ward

 (Entry 1 of 6)

(Aaron) Montgomery 1843–1913 American merchant

Ward

biographical name (2)

Definition of Ward (Entry 2 of 6)

Ar*te*mas \ ˈär-​tə-​məs How to pronounce Ward (audio) \ 1727–1800 American general in Revolution

Ward

biographical name (3)

Definition of Ward (Entry 3 of 6)

Artemus — see Charles Farrar browne

Ward

biographical name (4)

Definition of Ward (Entry 4 of 6)

Barbara 1914–1981 Baroness Jackson of Lodsworth English economist

Ward

biographical name (5)

Definition of Ward (Entry 5 of 6)

Sir Joseph George 1856–1930 New Zealand statesman

Ward

biographical name (6)

Definition of Ward (Entry 6 of 6)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on ward

Nglish: Translation of ward for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ward for Arabic Speakers

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