Quora – What’s the origin of the “-ward” suffix in English, in words such as “downward, eastward, toward”?

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The suffix -ward comes from the Old English -weard (or sometimes -weardes when used as the genitive) meaning “toward” or “turned toward”. This, in turn, comes from the Proto-Germanic *werda-, which stems from the Proto-Indo-European *werto- meaning “to turn/wind”.

Originally, -ward was used to mean “turn toward” (as in the action, meaning it used the accusative case) but has since been used to mean “in the direction of”.

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