From Old English -weardes; akin to Old Saxon and Old Frisian -ward. Old High German -wert, German -wärts, Icelandic -verðr, Gothic -vaírþs, Latin vertere to turn, versus toward, and English worth to become. See worth, intransitive verb, and compare verse.
- Forming adverbs denoting course or direction to, or motion or tendency toward, as in "backwards", "towards", etc.
- The choice between -ward and -wards is individual or dialectal; both are widely used.
- Adverbs ending in -wards (Anglo-Saxon -weardes) and some other adverbs, such as besides, betimes, since Old English sithens, etc., originated as genitive forms used adverbially.