-ward

1.
a native English suffix denoting spatial or temporal direction, as specified by the initial element:
"toward; seaward; afterward; backward."
Also, -wards.
Origin
Middle English; Old English -weard towards; cognate with German -wärts; akin to Latin vertere to turn (see verse)
Usage note
Both -ward and -wards occur in such words as backward, forward, upward, and toward. The -ward form is by far the more common in edited American English writing.
British Dictionary definitions for -ward
-ward
 
suffix
1.  (forming adjectives) indicating direction towards: a backward step; heavenward progress
2.  (forming adverbs) a variant and the usual US and Canadian form of -wards
 
[Old English -weard towards]

-wards or -ward
 
suffix forming adverbs
Compare -ward indicating direction towards: a step backwards; to sail shorewards
 
[Old English -weardes towards]
 
-ward or -ward
 
suffix forming adverbs
 
[Old English -weardes towards]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin and History for -ward
-ward
adv. suffix expressing direction, O.E. -weard "toward," lit. "turned toward," sometimes -weardes, with genitive singular ending of neuter adjectives, from P.Gmc. *warth (cf. O.S., O.Fris. -ward, O.N. -verðr), variant of PIE *wert- "to turn, wind," from base *wer- "to turn, bend" (see versus). The original notion is of "turned toward."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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