Definition 2024



See also: ward, Ward, and -wards




  1. Forming adverbs denoting course or direction to, or motion or tendency toward, as in "backward", "toward", "forward", etc.
  2. Forming adjectives, as in "a backward look", "the northward road", etc; used even by speakers who usually use -wards for adverbs.

Derived terms

<a class='CategoryTreeLabel CategoryTreeLabelNs14 CategoryTreeLabelCategory' href='/wiki/Category:English_words_suffixed_with_-ward'>English words suffixed with -ward</a>

Usage notes

  • The choice between -ward and -wards is individual or dialectal; both are widely used.
  • Adverbs ending in -wards (Anglo-Saxon -weardes) and some other adverbs, such as besides, betimes, since Old English sithens, etc., originated as genitive forms used adverbially.
  • The adjectives toward (initial stress) and forward have meanings not predictable from the meaning of -ward.
  • Awkward has retained the form but lost much of the sense in its use of this suffix.