1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ward
WARD, that which guards or watches and that which is guarded or watched. The word is a doublet of “guard,” which was adapted from the French comparatively late into English. Both are to be referred to the Teutonic root war-, to protect, defend, cf. “wary,” “warn,” “beware,” O. Eng. weard, Ger. warten, &c., and the English “guardian,” “garrison,” &c. The principal applications of the term are, in architecture, to the inner courts of a fortified place; at Windsor Castle they are called the upper and lower wards (see Bailey, Castle); to a ridge of metal inside a lock blocking the passage of any key which has not a corresponding slot into which the ridge fits, the slot in the key being also called “ward” (see Locks). Another branch of meaning is to be found in the use of the word for a division into which a borough is divided for the purpose of election of councillors, or a parish for election of guardians. It was also the term used as equivalent to “hundred” in Northumberland and Cumberland. To this branch belongs the use for the various large or small separate rooms in a hospital, asylum, &c., where patients are received and treated. The most general meaning of the word is for a minor or person who is under a guardianship (see Infant, Marriage and Roman Law).