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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Nora is left to protect and watch over an invalid mother, her youngest son, and an annoying teen ward who conducts séances in town. Ryan Chapman, Longreads, "‘Nobody in This Book Is Going to Catch a Break’: Téa Obreht on “Inland”," 28 Aug. 2019 Expenses incurred in ward offices, such as utility bills, were paid without a list of who paid the bills or were reimbursed for services not contemplated by council’s policies (fax lines and internet services). Robert Higgs, cleveland.com, "Cleveland council President Kevin Kelley vows to tighten rules after audit finds members expenses were approved despite incomplete reports," 27 Aug. 2019 Residents in the year-long graduate program learned pastoral care theory and spent three days per week in a medical ward putting that theory into practice. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Navy graduates members of 2019 clinical pastoral care residency Program," 27 Aug. 2019 The most pressing matter is the running backs room, which suddenly resembles a medical ward following injuries to sophomore Keaontay Ingram (knee), junior Daniel Young (ankle) and fifth-year senior Kirk Johnson (clavicle). Nick Moyle, ExpressNews.com, "Texas has some concerns as the season opener appraoches," 26 Aug. 2019 Wilson, who won 14 African American wards in the Feb. 26 contest, threw his support behind Lightfoot in her campaign against Preckwinkle. Gregory Pratt, chicagotribune.com, "6 months ago, they were part of the largest field of mayoral candidates in Chicago history. Here’s what the former City Hall hopefuls are doing now.," 26 Aug. 2019 For example, former two-time, world heavyweight champion boxer George Foreman was born in Marshall, Texas and grew up in Houston's fifth ward. Peter Dawson, Houston Chronicle, "Famous athletes, actors, politicians, and businessmen who moved to Houston and made it their home," 30 July 2019 Adeline Mann brings bull-in-a-china-shop clumsiness to the teacher who wants her wee wards to explore and celebrate racial difference. Lisa Kennedy, The Know, "Theater review: “Fairfield” at Miners Alley is an ouchy-funny race comedy," 22 July 2019 For Howland, insanity is a shared condition; all the world’s a ward. Abigail Deutsch, Harper's magazine, "Bette on the Blues," 22 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

To ward off overheating, large animals such as elephants and rhinos had to evolve strategies to keep cool. John Pickrell, National Geographic, "New discovery shows how T. rex kept its brain cool," 4 Sep. 2019 In June, a massive plume of Saharan dust made its way from Africa to the Sunshine State, bringing hazy skies and vibrant sunsets while warding off storms. USA TODAY, "Emoji house, Saharan dust, turtle crossing: News from around our 50 states," 8 Aug. 2019 Before the morning ceremony, protesters trying to force their way to the square were driven back by officers with plastic shields and batons, the retreating protesters pointing open umbrellas to ward off pepper spray. Ken Moritsugu, Anchorage Daily News, "Hong Kong police clear protesters who occupied legislative building on handover anniversary," 1 July 2019 Arizona's measure is likely to give employers some ability to regulate their workers' consumption to ward off that type of opposition. Ryan Randazzo, azcentral, "10 things to look for in a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona," 29 June 2019 The shelter also suggested keeping cats inside overnight, walking dogs on a leash at all times and bringing a whistle or bear spray on walks or hikes to ward off coyotes. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Local animal shelter warns of possible coyote encounters as weather heats up," 13 June 2019 At one point, two workers were seen wrapping the turtle in blue tape, to ward off children. Steve Annear, BostonGlobe.com, "Remember that turtle sculpture that was ‘burning kids’ in Beacon Hill? It’s being moved," 26 Aug. 2019 Talk of ultrasonic beepers that would ward off sharks mid-assault is everywhere. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "The Summer of Shark Politics on Cape Cod," 22 Aug. 2019 There are ways to ward off negative effects, however, like collecting money before spending it or using the revenue to shore up savings. Samantha J. Gross, chicagotribune.com, "Taxing legal pot could be good for states, but study says there’s little data to show it," 20 Aug. 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.

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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

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Dictionary Entries near ward

warcraft

war crime

war cry

ward

-ward

Ward

wardable

Statistics for ward

Last Updated

2 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ward

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

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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

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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

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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

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