Definition of ward in English:

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Pronunciation: /wôrd/


1A separate room in a hospital, typically one allocated to a particular type of patient: a children’s ward [as modifier]: a ward nurse
More example sentences
  • Stepping back a generation, doctors were familiar with hospital wards full of patients succumbing to sepsis in the pre-penicillin era.
  • Yarmouk Hospital has one of the busiest emergency rooms and obstetrics wards in Baghdad.
  • Randomised controlled trial of usual care compared with intervention delivered on hospital wards by cardiac rehabilitation nurses.
room, department, unit, area, wing
1.1One of the divisions of a prison.
Example sentences
  • The mother of Peter, a 23-year-old man whose currently in a maximum security prison ward in New South Wales.
  • Just come striding along the beach like a prison ward or something!
  • When they built the new prison a ward was set-aside for mentally impaired people, but even that seems to have become overcrowded.
2An administrative division of a city or borough that typically elects and is represented by a councilor or councilors.
Example sentences
  • Issues raised will be discussed by the relief road working group, made up of county councillors representing local wards, and the county council will enforce the changes.
  • We called the offices of city councillors representing various downtown wards, and their staff readily acknowledged the litter problem.
  • Candidates for election will run in electoral districts, similar to city councillors' wards.
district, constituency, division, quarter, zone, parish
2.1A territorial division of the Mormon Church presided over by a bishop.
Example sentences
  • Bishop David Hamblin, the bishop for the ward, the Mormon church to which the Smart family belongs to.
  • Derek Cross fell in with the Mormons, rising through the ranks to become bishop of their ward.
3A person, usually a minor, under the care and control of a guardian appointed by their parents or a court.
Example sentences
  • Open sea and clear skies was all very well when teaching a new crewmember the ropes and they never lost their fascination with the captain's young ward.
dependent, charge, protégé
3.1 archaic Guardianship or the state of being subject to a guardian: the ward and care of the Crown
4 (usually wards) Any of the internal ridges or bars in a lock that prevent the turning of any key that does not have grooves of corresponding form or size.
4.1The corresponding grooves in the bit of a key.
5 archaic The action of keeping a lookout for danger: I saw them keeping ward at one of those huge gates
6 historical An area of ground enclosed by the encircling walls of a fortress or castle.
Example sentences
  • Near to this original house, on a chalk hill, William I built a castle, with a ward either side of a low motte.
  • The first step was the walling of the early Norman ring work but today only little part of this work survives on the north-west walls of the upper ward, the section facing the outer bailey was demolished.
  • The inner ward is a square enclosure with circular angle towers, with one bigger and separated by the walls forming the keep.
7 Fencing A defensive position or motion.
Example sentences
  • The first illustration show the two fencers in a low or terza ward with rapiers crossed.
  • Simultaneously the Master shall raise his rapier into the open ward.


[with object]
1 archaic Guard; protect: it was his duty to ward the king
2Admit (a patient) to a hospital ward.
Example sentences
  • Both are warded at Port-of-Spain General Hospital.
  • Gomez is warded at Port-of-Spain General Hospital in a stable condition.
  • One of Richardson's alleged accomplices, who was warded under police guard at the San Fernando General Hospital, was expected to face additional charges late yesterday.


ward of the court

A person, usually a minor or of unsound mind, for whom a guardian has been appointed by a court or who has become directly subject to the authority of that court.
Example sentences
  • At one time it was believed that the mere publication of information about a ward of court was contempt of court.
  • What was sought to be done was to make them wards of court and then obtain orders in their welfare which would contradict the steps the Minister had taken.
  • The commission recommends making a person ineligible to serve as a trustee if they are under 18, a ward of court, adjudicated bankrupt, restricted from being a director of a company, or convicted of a crime.

Phrasal verbs

ward someone/something off

Prevent from harming or affecting one: she put up a hand as if to ward him off
More example sentences
  • The archetypal souvenirs are ceramic tiles featuring the Evil Eye - a Turkish good luck charm designed to ward off evil spirits.
  • In areas where apples were grown, it evolved into a ritual in which chants and dances were used to ward off evil spirits which it was believed would harm the trees.
  • The veil was also believed to magically have the power to ward off surrounding evils that wish to harm the bride.
fend off, repel, repulse, beat back, chase away
informal send packing
parry, avert, deflect, block;
evade, avoid, dodge
rebuff, avert, keep at bay, fend off, stave off, turn away, repel, resist, prevent, obstruct, foil, frustrate, thwart, check, stop



Pronunciation: /ˈwôrdˌSHip/
Example sentences
  • A supervision order, while less intrusive than Crown wardship would not adequately protect the children from either the father or the mother for reasons already discussed under issue No. 1.
  • Usually granted in connection with wardships, the king's rights over the marriage of his tenants-in-chief had longer term implications for Edward III's ‘new nobility.’
  • Early in life he was placed under the wardship of a tutor in Marseilles.


Old English weard (sense 5 of the noun, also 'body of guards'), weardian 'keep safe, guard', of Germanic origin; reinforced in Middle English by Old Northern French warde (noun), warder (verb) 'guard', variants of Old French garde, garder; compare with guard.

  • guard from Late Middle English:

    An Old Germanic element meaning ‘to watch, guard’ lies behind both guard and ward. Ward came into English from Old English weard ‘watchman, guard’. The sense ‘child protected by a guardian’ is late Middle English, and the sense of a hospital ward, where you are watched over by nurses or wardens, is mid 18th. Meanwhile, Germanic-speaking Franks had taken over areas of Europe that were mainly Romance speaking, and introduced the word into Romance. The w became a g(u) and the word became g(u)arde in Old French from which the g- forms were introduced into English. The g- and w- forms (found as alternatives in other words in modern French and English, as in the name William or Guillaume) are also found in warden (Middle English) and guardian (Late Middle English). Wardrobe (Late Middle English), a place where you look after clothes, has an alternative garderobe (Middle English). These were once interchangeable. However, garderobe is now mainly restricted to a term for a medieval lavatory. Wardrobe could have this sense in the past, for both words developed the sense of a small room where you could be private, and from there somewhere you could do something in private ( compare privy under private).

Words that rhyme with ward

aboard, abroad, accord, afford, applaud, award, bawd, board, broad, chord, Claude, cord, ford, fraud, gaud, Gawd, hoard, horde, laud, lord, maraud, milord, sward, sword, toward, unawed, unexplored, unrestored

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ward

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