ward

a.

  1. The act of guarding; watch; guard; guardianship; specifically, a guarding during the day. See the Note under Watch, n., 1.

n.

  1. One who, or that which, guards; garrison; defender; protector; means of guarding; defense; protection.
  2. The state of being under guard or guardianship; confinement under guard; the condition of a child under a guardian; custody.
  3. A guarding or defensive motion or position, as in fencing; guard.
  4. One who, or that which, is guarded.
  5. A minor or person under the care of a guardian; as, a ward in chancery.
  6. A division of a county.
  7. A division, district, or quarter of a town or city.
  8. A division of a forest.
  9. A division of a hospital; as, a fever ward.
  10. A projecting ridge of metal in the interior of a lock, to prevent the use of any key which has not a corresponding notch for passing it.
  11. A notch or slit in a key corresponding to a ridge in the lock which it fits; a ward notch.
  12. To keep in safety; to watch; to guard; formerly, in a specific sense, to guard during the day time.
  13. To defend; to protect.
  14. To defend by walls, fortifications, etc.
  15. To fend off; to repel; to turn aside, as anything mischievous that approaches; -- usually followed by off.

v. i.

  1. To be vigilant; to keep guard.
  2. To act on the defensive with a weapon.