ward off

ward off

Meaning | Synonyms

  • to prevent something from harming you
  • to prevent something from happening (often used when trying to keep from getting ill)
  • defend against
  • protect against
  • deflect
  • keep at bay
  • hold off
  • fight off
  • fend off
  • discourage

Example Sentences

  1. Our government has doubled the number of soldiers at the border to ward off illegal immigrants.
  2. Don’t forget to take your umbrella to ward off the rain, Peter. It is horrible outside.
  3. I have changed my diet in order to ward off a cold this winter. I am having a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  4. I have to take this medicine to ward off an infection. I have a bad cut from falling off my motorcycle.
  5. I have tried everything possible to ward off the crazy girls who keep texting me.


The word ward means to avert or repel. It originated before 900 ACE. It is derived from Middle English or Middle Dutch words. When used in a literal sense it means that you keep something from hurting you. This is probably due to the fact that the origin of the word was also related to guarding something.

In a figurative sense, it is often used to describe the “warding off” of a disease by taking a variety of supplements. Thus, you are keeping it from hurting you.

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