Go to 'thermo-' entry Go to 'dino-' entry Go to 'chondro-' entry Go to 'aero-' entry Go to '-logy' entry Go to 'thaumato-' entry Go to 'nano-' entry Go to '-sophy' entry Go to 'bucco-' entry Go to '-ism' entry Go to '-lysis' entry Go to 'galacto-' entry Go to '-anthropy' entry Go to 'pneumo-' entry Go to '-ploitation' entry Go to '-lithic' entry Go to '-sepalous' entry Go to 'onco-' entry Go to '-parous' entry Go to 'dermato-' entry Go to 'multi-' entry Go to 'dodeca-' entry Go to '-zoon' entry Go to 'vermi-' entry Go to 'crystallo-' entry Go to 'biblio-' entry Go to 'eco-' entry Go to 'juxta-' entry Go to 'facio-' entry
Affixes: the building blocks of English
Affixes: the building blocks of English

-ward Also -wards.

In a specified direction.

[Old English -weard, from a Germanic base meaning ‘turn’.]

These two forms are virtually identical in meaning, the choice between them often being one of euphony or personal inclination. However, there is a strong tendency in British English for words in -wards to be adverbs (his car shot forwards), while those in -ward are more likely to be adjectives (she was a backward child), or occasionally nouns (let us look to the eastward). In American English, -ward is more usual in all cases.

The suffixes can be added to nouns that relate to some place or direction, and to adverbs that refer to a direction. They make adverbs and adjectives that indicate movement in some direction (backwards, eastward, towards, upward). A few refer to movement in time (afterwards). Examples are created as needed in the modern language: futurewards, holeward, lakewards, planetward, riverwards.

Visit Michael Quinion’s World Wide Words site for 2000+ articles on English!

Copyright © Michael Quinion 2008–. All rights reserved. Page last updated 23 September 2008.
Your comments and suggestions on the site are very welcome.