Etymology
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upward (adv.)
also upwards, Old English upweard, upweardes "up, upward, toward heaven;" see up (adv.) + -ward. Similar formation in Middle Low German upwart, Middle Dutch opwaert, Dutch opwaart, Middle High German ufwart. As an adjective from c. 1600 (also in Old English). Phrase upward mobility first recorded 1949; mainly restricted to sociologists' jargon until 1960s.
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inward (adj.)
Old English inweard "inmost; sincere; internal, intrinsic; deep," from Proto-Germanic *inwarth "inward" (source also of Old Norse innanverðr, Old High German inwart, Middle Dutch inwaert), from root of Old English inne "in" (see in (adv.)) + -weard (see -ward). As an adverb, Old English inneweard. As a noun in late Old English, "entrails, intestines."
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awkward (adv., adj.)
mid-14c. (adv.), "in the wrong direction," from awk "back-handed" + adverbial suffix -weard (see -ward). The original sense is obsolete. As an adjective, "turned the wrong way," 1510s. Meaning "clumsy, wanting ease and grace in movement" recorded by 1520s. Of persons, the meaning "embarrassed, ill-at-ease" is from 1713s. Related: Awkwardly. Other 15c.-17c. formations from awk, none of them surviving, were awky, awkly, awkness.
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backward (adv.)
"with the face to the rear, in the direction behind," c. 1300, from abakward, from Old English on bæc (see back (adv.), and compare aback) + -weard adjectival and adverbial suffix (see -ward).

Old English had the adverb bæcling. As an adjective, from 1550s. Meaning "behindhand with regard to progress" is first attested 1690s. To ring bells backward (from lowest to highest), c. 1500, was a signal of alarm for fire or invasion, or to express dismay. Another Middle English word for "backward, wrongly" was arseward (c. 1400); Old English had earsling.
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gu- 
because g- followed by some vowels in English usually has a "soft" pronunciation, a silent -u- sometimes was inserted between the g- and the vowel in Middle English to signal hardness, especially in words from French; but this was not done with many Scandinavian words where hard "g" precedes a vowel (gear, get, give, etc.). Germanic -w- generally became -gu- in words borrowed into Romance languages, but Old North French preserved the Frankish -w-, and English sometimes borrowed both forms, hence guarantee/warranty, guard/ward, etc.
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*wer- (3)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "perceive, watch out for."

It forms all or part of: Arcturus; avant-garde; award; aware; beware; Edward; ephor; garderobe; guard; hardware; irreverence; lord; panorama; pylorus; rearward; regard; revere; reverence; reverend; reward; software; steward; vanguard; ward; warden; warder; wardrobe; ware (n.) "manufactured goods, goods for sale;" ware (v.) "to take heed of, beware;" warehouse; wary.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Latin vereri "to observe with awe, revere, respect, fear;" Greek ouros "a guard, watchman," horan "to see;" Hittite werite- "to see;" Old English weard "a guarding, protection; watchman, sentry, keeper."

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outward (adj.)

Old English utweard "to or toward the outside, external" (of an enclosure, a surface, etc.), earlier utanweard, from ute, utan "outside" (from ut; see out) + -weard (see -ward). Compare Old Frisian utward, Old High German uzwertes, German auswärts. Related: Outwardly; outwardness. Outwards, with adverbial genitive, was in Old English. 

Meaning "externally apparent, outwardly shown, so as to be exterior or visible" is from late 14c. Of persons, in reference to the external appearance (usually opposed to inner feelings), it is attested from c. 1500. As an adverb, "on the outside," in Old English (utaword); also "away from or out of place or position" (late 13c.).

Outward-bound "directed on a course out from home port" is recorded from c. 1600; with capital initials, it refers to a sea school founded in 1941. Outward man (1520s), in theology refers to "the body," as opposed to the soul or spirit.

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*wer- (2)

Proto-Indo-European root forming words meaning "to turn, bend."

It forms all or part of: adverse; anniversary; avert; awry; controversy; converge; converse (adj.) "exact opposite;" convert; diverge; divert; evert; extroversion; extrovert; gaiter; introrse; introvert; invert; inward; malversation; obverse; peevish; pervert; prose; raphe; reverberate; revert; rhabdomancy; rhapsody; rhombus; ribald; sinistrorse; stalwart; subvert; tergiversate; transverse; universe; verbena; verge (v.1) "tend, incline;" vermeil; vermicelli; vermicular; vermiform; vermin; versatile; verse (n.) "poetry;" version; verst; versus; vertebra; vertex; vertigo; vervain; vortex; -ward; warp; weird; worm; worry; worth (adj.) "significant, valuable, of value;" worth (v.) "to come to be;" wrangle; wrap; wrath; wreath; wrench; wrest; wrestle; wriggle; wring; wrinkle; wrist; writhe; wrong; wroth; wry.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit vartate "turns round, rolls;" Avestan varet- "to turn;" Hittite hurki- "wheel;" Greek rhatane "stirrer, ladle;" Latin vertere (frequentative versare) "to turn, turn back, be turned; convert, transform, translate; be changed," versus "turned toward or against;" Old Church Slavonic vrŭteti "to turn, roll," Russian vreteno "spindle, distaff;" Lithuanian verčiu, versti "to turn;" German werden, Old English weorðan "to become;" Old English -weard "toward," originally "turned toward," weorthan "to befall," wyrd "fate, destiny," literally "what befalls one;" Welsh gwerthyd "spindle, distaff;" Old Irish frith "against."

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parry (v.)

1630s, "to turn aside or ward off" the blow of a weapon (transitive), from French parez! (a word which would have been heard often in fencing lessons), imperative of parer "ward off," from Italian parare "to ward or defend (a blow)" (see para- (2)). Related: Parried; parrying. Non-fencing use is from 1718. The noun, "an act of warding off or turning aside," is by 1705, from the verb.

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Alexis 
masc. proper name, from Greek alexis, from alexein "to ward off, keep, protect" (see Alexander). The Latin form was Alexius.
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