a. A room in a hospital usually holding six or more patients.
b. A division in a hospital for the care of a particular group of patients: a maternity ward.
a. A division of a city or town, especially an electoral district, for administrative and representative purposes.
b. A district of some English and Scottish counties corresponding roughly to the hundred or the wapentake.
- One of the divisions of a penal institution, such as a prison.
- An open court or area of a castle or fortification enclosed by walls.
a. Law A minor or a person deemed legally incompetent.
b. A person under the protection or care of another.
a. The act of guarding or protecting; guardianship.
b. The act of keeping watch or being a lookout.
c. The state of being under guard; custody.
- A defensive movement or attitude, especially in fencing; a guard.
a. The projecting ridge of a lock or keyhole that prevents the turning of a key other than the proper one.
b. The notch cut into a key that corresponds to such a ridge.
transitive verbward·ed, ward·ing, wards Archaic
To guard; protect.Phrasal Verbs: ward off
To turn aside; parry: ward off an opponent's blows.
To try to prevent; avert: took vitamins to ward off head colds.
Origin of ward
Middle English action of guarding from
Old English weard a watching, protection
; see wer-3
in Indo-European roots.
- (archaic or obsolete) A guard; a guardian or watchman.
From Middle English ward, from Old English weard (“keeper, watchman, guard, guardian, protector; lord, king; possessor"), from Proto-Germanic *warduz (“guard, keeper"), from Proto-Indo-European *wer- (“to heed, defend"). Cognate with German Wart.
A protected place.
- Edmund Spenser (c.1552-1599)
- The assieged castle's ward / Their steadfast stands did mightily maintain.
- John Dryden (1631-1700)
- For want of other ward, / He lifted up his hand, his front to guard.
- The action of a watchman; monitoring, surveillance (usually in phrases keep ward etc.).
- Guardianship, especially of a child or prisoner.
- An enchantment or spell placed over a designated area, or a social unit, that prevents any tresspasser from entering, approaching and/or even from being able to locate said-protected premises
- (historical, Scots law) Land tenure through military service.
- (fencing) A guarding or defensive motion or position.
A person under guardianship.
- (archaic) An area of a castle, corresponding to a circuit of the walls.
- A section or subdivision of a prison.
- An administrative division of a borough, city or council.
- On our last visit to Tokyo, we went to Chiyoda ward and visited the Emperor's palace.
- (UK) A division of a forest.
- (Mormonism) A subdivision of the LDS Church, smaller than and part of a stake, but larger than a branch.
- A room in a hospital where patients reside.
An object used for guarding.
- A minor looked after by a guardian.
- After the trial, little Robert was declared a ward of the state.
- The ridges on the inside of a lock, or the incisions on a key.
From Middle English ward, warde, from Old English weard (“watching, ward, protection, guardianship; advance post; waiting for, lurking, ambuscade"), from Proto-Germanic *wardÅ (“protection, attention, keeping"), an extension of Germanic stem *wara- "attentive" (English wary, beware), from Proto-Indo-European *wer- (“to cover"). Cognate with German Warte (“watchtower"), warten (“wait for"); English guard is a parallel form which came via Old French.
(third-person singular simple present wards, present participle warding, simple past and past participle warded)
- To keep in safety, to watch over, to guard.
- To defend, to protect.
- To fend off, to repel, to turn aside, as anything mischievous that approaches; -- usually followed by off.
- (intransitive) To be vigilant; to keep guard.
- (intransitive) To act on the defensive with a weapon.
From Middle English warden, from Old English weardian (“to watch, guard, keep, protect, preserve; hold, possess, occupy, inhabit; rule, govern"), from Proto-Germanic *wardÅnÄ… (“to guard"), from Proto-Indo-European *wer- (“to heed, defend").
Germanic, cognate with a/to ward, warden, guard etc.