a division or district of a city or town, as for administrative or political purposes.
one of the districts into which certain English and Scottish boroughs are divided.
a division, floor, or room of a hospital for a particular class or group of patients: a convalescent ward; a critical ward.
any of the separate divisions of a prison.
a political subdivision of a parish in Louisiana.
Mormon Church. one of the subdivisions of a stake, presided over by a bishop.
Fortification. an open space within or between the walls of a castle or fortified place: the castle's lower ward.
a person, especially a minor, who has been legally placed under the care of a guardian or a court.
the state of being under the care or control of a legal guardian.
guardianship over a minor or some other person legally incapable of managing his or her own affairs.
the state of being under restraining guard or in custody.
a person who is under the protection or control of another.
a movement or posture of defense, as in fencing.
a curved ridge of metal inside a lock, forming an obstacle to the passage of a key that does not have a corresponding notch.
the notch or slot in the bit of a key into which such a ridge fits.
the act of keeping guard or protective watch: watch and ward.
Archaic. a company of guards or a garrison.
verb (used with object)
to avert, repel, or turn aside (danger, harm, an attack, an assailant, etc.) (usually followed by off ): to ward off a blow; to ward off evil.
to place in a ward, as of a hospital or prison.
Archaic. to protect; guard.

before 900; (noun) Middle English warde, Old English weard; (v.) Middle English warden, Old English weardian; cognate with Middle Dutch waerden, German warten; cf. guard

wardless, adjective

1. precinct. 10. protégé. 16. parry, prevent.
Dictionary.com Unabridged


(Aaron) Montgomery, 1843–1913, U.S. merchant and mail-order retailer.
Artemas [ahr-tuh-muhs] , 1727–1800, American general in the american revolution.
Artemus [ahr-tuh-muhs] , (Charles Farrar Browne) 1834–67, U.S. humorist.
Barbara (Baroness Jackson of Lodsworth) 1914–81, English economist and author.
Mrs. Humphry (Mary Augusta Arnold) 1851–1920, English novelist, born in Tasmania.
Sir Joseph George, 1856–1930, New Zealand statesman, born in Australia: prime minister 1906–12, 1928–30.
Lester Frank, 1841–1913, U.S. sociologist.
Nathaniel ("Theodore de la Guard") 1578?–1652, English clergyman, lawyer, and author in America.
a male given name.


a native English suffix denoting spatial or temporal direction, as specified by the initial element: toward; seaward; afterward; backward.
Also, -wards.

Middle English; Old English -weard towards; cognate with German -wärts; akin to Latin vertere to turn (see verse)

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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
ward (wɔːd)
1.  (in many countries) a district into which a city, town, parish, or other area is divided for administration, election of representatives, etc
2.  a room in a hospital, esp one for patients requiring similar kinds of care: a maternity ward
3.  one of the divisions of a prison
4.  an open space enclosed within the walls of a castle
5.  law
 a.  Also called: ward of court a person, esp a minor or one legally incapable of managing his own affairs, placed under the control or protection of a guardian or of a court
 b.  guardianship, as of a minor or legally incompetent person
6.  the state of being under guard or in custody
7.  a person who is under the protection or in the custody of another
8.  a means of protection
9.  a.  an internal ridge or bar in a lock that prevents an incorrectly cut key from turning
 b.  a corresponding groove cut in a key
10.  a less common word for warden
11.  archaic (tr) to guard or protect
[Old English weard protector; related to Old High German wart, Old Saxon ward, Old Norse vorthr. See guard]

Ward (wɔːd)
1.  Dame Barbara (Mary), Baroness Jackson. 1914--81, British economist, environmentalist, and writer. Her books include Spaceship Earth (1966)
2.  Mrs Humphry, married name of Mary Augusta Arnold. 1851--1920, English novelist. Her novels include Robert Elsmere (1888) and The Case of Richard Meynell (1911)
3.  Sir Joseph George. 1856--1930, New Zealand statesman; prime minister of New Zealand (1906--12; 1928--30)

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]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. weard "a guarding, a watchman, a sentry," from W.Gmc. *wardo (cf. O.S. ward, O.N. vörðr, O.H.G. wart). Used for administrative districts (at first in the sense of guardianship) from late 14c.; of hospital divisions from 1749. Meaning "minor under control of a guardian" is from early 15c.
Ward-heeler is 1890, from heeler "loafer, one on the lookout for shady work" (1870s).

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."

O.E. weardian "to keep guard," from P.Gmc. *wardojan- (cf. O.S. wardon, O.N. varða "to guard," O.Fris. wardia, M.Du. waerden "to take care of," O.H.G. warten "to guard, look out for, expect," Ger. warten "to wait, wait on, nurse, tend"), from *wardo- (see ward (n.)). Fr.
garder, It. guardare, Sp. guardar are Gmc. loan-words. Meaning "to parry, to fend off" (now usually with off) is recorded from 1571.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

ward (wôrd)

  1. A room in a hospital usually holding six or more patients.

  2. A division in a hospital for the care of a particular group of patients.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Bible Dictionary

Ward definition

a prison (Gen. 40:3, 4); a watch-station (Isa. 21:8); a guard (Neh. 13:30).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences
Most dirt poor farmers with cancer in those days ended up in the poor ward in a
  state or city hospital.
Anti-bacterial chemicals are used to ward off sea lice and other parasites.
The idea of using chemicals to ward off sharks is not new.
Plants are constantly struggling to ward off a variety of predators, ranging
  from caterpillars to cows.
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