Definition of forward in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfôrwərd/


(also forwards)
1Toward the front; in the direction that one is facing or traveling: he started up the engine and the car moved forward Lori leaned forward over the table
More example sentences
  • The ball has to stop at the top of the backswing and change directions to travel forward.
  • Just then, the black car in front of us moved forward and disappeared, then it was our turn.
  • I turned to face him, finally meeting his gaze before leaning forward and kissing him softly.
ahead, forwards, onward, onwards, on, further
1.1In, near, or toward the bow or nose of a ship or aircraft.
Example sentences
  • Then Hayes moved aft, across a passageway to the starboard side of the ship, and forward.
  • The submersible is housed in a trunk below the deck of the ship just forward of the bridge.
  • The other common merchant ship layout is all holds forward with a superstructure aft.
1.2In the normal order or sequence: the number was the same backward as forward
More example sentences
  • By the time I was five I knew the song Waltzing Matilda forwards and backwards.
  • I hope so, for I have such high hopes for this new year, one that reads the same backwards as forwards - a calendar palindrome.
  • He can memorise 60 digit numbers in a jiffy and recite them forwards and backwards.
2Onward so as to make progress; toward a successful conclusion: there’s no way forward for the relationship
More example sentences
  • Our victory is a big step forwards for everyone.
  • Without spending this money we cannot go forward and progress as a club but we clearly can't afford it.
  • The first step forwards to reducing our insatiable need for more and more power is to cut the waste.
moving forward, moving forward, moving ahead, onward, advancing, progressing, progressive
2.1Into a position of prominence or notice: he is pushing forward a political ally
More example sentences
  • It is accused of having become a political actor, pushing forward European integration in a partisan manner.
  • Parents keep pushing suitable candidates forward and then wonder why their children don't like them.
  • Mr Dowling launched his campaign this week pushing forward a number of issues aimed at benefiting Carlow.
toward the front, out, forth, into view
3Toward the future; ahead in time: from that day forward, the assembly was at odds with us
More example sentences
  • But the main thrust of his speech was looking forward to the future of British farming.
  • But we think at this time and looking forward to our future that we would like to stay with one team and focus our resources on one team.
  • Thus there are very few people who do not look back to the past with a sense of longing or forward to the future with a sense of unease.
onward, onwards, on, forth;
for ever, into eternity;
until now
3.1To an earlier time: the special issue has been moved forward to winter
More example sentences
  • Their logic dictates that the chances of bothersome winter postponements are reduced by propelling matches forwards.
  • Following poor weather forecasts for Friday, the team shifted its programme forward in order to be ready to run today.
  • Most other member states claim to be making good progress in bringing forward the transposition.


1Directed or facing toward the front or the direction that one is facing or traveling: forward flight the pilot’s forward view
More example sentences
  • On the role Baxter has played in dragging British skiing in a forward direction, he is characteristically modest.
  • Males sport splashes of black and brown on a forward segment of their front legs.
  • The forward direction of the ball is accomplished by the horizontal angle of the cue stick.
1.1Positioned near the enemy lines: troops moved to the forward areas
More example sentences
  • The next three weeks were testing ones for the 7th Battalion, holding a forward position near the Bois de Bavent.
  • There was one forward depot for each army formation with one forward battalion to support each front-line corps.
  • In the first incident, two rockets were fired at the forward operating base near Khost.
front, advance, foremost, head, leading, frontal
1.2(In sports) moving toward the opponents' goal: a forward pass
More example sentences
  • This followed a first-class try by Lister after rugged forward play, the full back converting.
  • Doncaster regained the lead ten minutes later following strong forward play.
  • The forward play gave the backs chance to show their skills with Hinchliffe running in two more tries.
1.3In, near, or toward the bow or nose of a ship or aircraft.
Example sentences
  • A door slid open automatically when they approached the forward section of the ship.
  • The power of the wave destroys the reinforcement and pounds the ship's forward shields.
  • It was in the forward quarter of the ship, with the rest of the rooms nearby.
1.4 Electronics (Of a voltage applied to a semiconductor junction) in the direction that allows significant current to flow.
Example sentences
  • The voltage in the forward wave is always greater than the voltage in the reflected wave.
  • However, charge recombination reactions can occur when the forward electron transport cannot proceed.
2 [attributive] Relating to or concerned with the future: a twelve-month forward forecast
More example sentences
  • He said these plants have forward orders representing between two and four months production.
  • In other words, having a forward view changes what you do in the here and now.
  • The theory here is that skirt length can be a forward predictor of stock market direction.
future, forward-looking, for the future, prospective
3Moving or tending onward to a successful conclusion: the decision is a forward step
More example sentences
  • As a result, technologists and businesses cannot assume unhindered forward progress.
  • Tufnell is not exactly a forward step in selection and he's had many chances before.
  • You know, there was a time when it seemed we'd never take a forward step that didn't involve technology.
3.1Developing or acting earlier than expected or required; advanced or precocious: an alarmingly forward yet painfully vulnerable child
More example sentences
  • It was when she was a little over a year old that Charlotte first appeared to have problems. Before then she was a very forward child talking and singing, but suddenly started to slow down.
  • He doesn't use sign language nearly as much now because he talks such a lot. He's very forward for his age and I think that teaching him a form of communication so young has given him extra confidence.
4(Of a person) bold or familiar in manner, especially in a presumptuous way.
Example sentences
  • Olivia worries that she was too forward with him, and that he is now judging her because of it.
  • Being alone became an annoying state, and those forward women became more attractive to you by the week.
  • When he goes on a date with Jane Gallagher, Holden becomes extremely agitated, because Stradlater is extremely forwardwith his dates.
bold, brazen, brazen-faced, barefaced, brash, shameless, immodest, audacious, daring, presumptuous, familiar, overfamiliar, pert
informal fresh


1An attacking player in basketball, hockey, or other sports.
Example sentences
  • Hockey should follow suit with special coaches for goalkeepers, defenders, halfbacks and forwards.
  • Their top forwards are still in their prime, their top defensemen are still in their prime and their goalie is among the best in the league.
  • Rush was one of the most lethal forwards of the past 25 years.
1.1 American Football An offensive or defensive lineman.
2 (forwards) Finance short for forward contract.


[with object]
1Send (a letter or email) on to a further destination: (as adjective forwarding) a forwarding address
More example sentences
  • I received a six-month-old letter that had been forwarded from an old address.
  • The letter was forwarded to her current address and she replied to it on September 26, stating that she did indeed want the committee to proceed.
  • Thanks to all of you who are forwarding the letters you've sent to the school.
send on, mail on, redirect, re-address, pass on
1.1Hand over or send (an official document): their final report was forwarded to the Commanding Officer
1.2Dispatch (goods): (as adjective forwarding) a freight forwarding company
More example sentences
  • The warrant will then be sent to the CPS, which will forward the documents to the Israeli authorities.
  • We have been trying to forward documents both to the post office box and to the residential addresses given.
  • Stan had not responded in writing to George's new accountant, nor had he forwarded the requested documents.
send, dispatch, transmit, carry, convey, deliver, ship
2Help to advance (something); promote: the scientists are forwarding the development of biotechnology
More example sentences
  • I see a contradiction, though, as these same people are often also supporters of the corporatocracy, which is largely responsible for forwarding postmodernism.
  • Dangerfield was into comedy for the long haul, looking not only to forward his own career, but those of other talented people as well.
  • He uses religious, economic, and political discourses in new and clever ways in order to forward his own political aims.


take something forward

Take responsibility for dealing with a task or developing a project: he’s designed a potentially successful product and we’re doing all we can to help him take it forward
More example sentences
  • We talked about a meeting with the applicants to take it forward.
  • I just feel the position needs a younger person who can take it forward.
  • It doesn't have the support within the community to take it forward.



Pronunciation: /ˈfôrwərdlē/
Example sentences
  • Hoping to deter further Japanese expansion, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ordered the Pacific Fleet to remain forwardly deployed at Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii, after its 1940 maneuvers.
  • You're a hot guy and you're cool,’ Nicole said forwardly, not aware of the impact her words had on Sean.
  • However, unlike a ship or an established Air Force base, Army units forwardly deployed do not have telecommunications land lines or habitual satellite links.


Old English forweard (in the sense 'toward the future', as in from this day forward), variant of forthweard (see forth, -ward).

Words that rhyme with forward

henceforward, shoreward, straightforward, thenceforward

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: for·ward

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