-ward adverbial suffix expressing direction, O.E. -weard "toward," lit. "turned toward," sometimes -weardes, with genitive singular ending of neuter adjectives, from P.Gmc. *warth (Cf. O.S., O.Fris. -ward, O.N. -verðr), variant of PIE *wert- "to turn, wind," from root *wer- "to turn, bend" (see VERSUS (Cf. versus)). The original notion is of "turned toward."

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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