Etymology
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ward (n.)

Old English weard "a guarding, protection; watchman, sentry, keeper," from Proto-Germanic *wardaz "guard" (source also of Old Saxon ward, Old Norse vörðr, Old High German wart), from PIE *war-o-, suffixed form of root *wer- (3) "perceive, watch out for."

Used for administrative districts (at first in the sense of guardianship) from late 14c.; of hospital divisions from 1749. Meaning "minor under control of a guardian" is from early 15c. Ward-heeler is 1890, from heeler "loafer, one on the lookout for shady work" (1870s).

ward (v.)

Old English weardian "to keep guard, watch, protect, preserve," from Proto-Germanic *wardon "to guard" (source also of Old Saxon wardon, Old Norse varða "to guard," Old Frisian wardia, Middle Dutch waerden "to take care of," Old High German warten "to guard, look out for, expect," German warten "to wait, wait on, nurse, tend"), from PIE *war-o-, suffixed form of root *wer- (3) "perceive, watch out for."

French garder, Italian guardare, Spanish guardar are Germanic loan-words. Meaning "to parry, to fend off" (now usually with off) is recorded from 1570s. Related: Warded; warding.

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Definitions of ward
1
ward (n.)
a person who is under the protection or in the custody of another;
ward (n.)
a district into which a city or town is divided for the purpose of administration and elections;
ward (n.)
block forming a division of a hospital (or a suite of rooms) shared by patients who need a similar kind of care;
they put her in a 4-bed ward
Synonyms: hospital ward
ward (n.)
a division of a prison (usually consisting of several cells);
Synonyms: cellblock
2
ward (v.)
watch over or shield from danger or harm; protect;
Synonyms: guard
3
Ward (n.)
English economist and conservationist (1914-1981);
Synonyms: Barbara Ward / Baroness Jackson of Lodsworth
Ward (n.)
English writer of novels who was an active opponent of the women's suffrage movement (1851-1920);
Synonyms: Mrs. Humphrey Ward / Mary Augusta Arnold Ward
Ward (n.)
United States businessman who in 1872 established a successful mail-order business (1843-1913);
Synonyms: Montgomery Ward / Aaron Montgomery Ward
From wordnet.princeton.edu