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Verb edit

ward off (third-person singular simple present wards off, present participle warding off, simple past and past participle warded off)

  1. (transitive) To parry, or turn aside.
    He raised his arms to ward off the attack.
    • 1920 November 25, “Protected Garage Door and Car Fenders”, in Motor Age[1], volume XXXVIII, number 22, Chicago, page 48, column 1:
      Door guards are a detail that can be added readily to almost any garage door for the purpose of protecting the door from being broken off the hinges or for the protection that is afforded the customers of the garage. The simplest form of these are inclined slides for warding off the front or rear wheels of the entering car.
    • 1947 January and February, “Passenger Comfort on Swedish Railways”, in Railway Magazine, page 48:
      Double plate glass windows and central heating ward off the rigours of the northern winter.
    • 2013 July-August, Henry Petroski, “Geothermal Energy”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 4:
      Energy has seldom been found where we need it when we want it. Ancient nomads, wishing to ward off the evening chill and enjoy a meal around a campfire, had to collect wood and then spend time and effort coaxing the heat of friction out from between sticks to kindle a flame. With more settled people, animals were harnessed to capstans or caged in treadmills to turn grist into meal.
  2. (transitive) To avert or prevent.
    He wore garlic to ward off vampires.
    • 1976 March 27, F. Dudley Hart, “History of the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis”, in British Medical Journal, volume 1, number 6012, →DOI, →JSTOR, page 763:
      Group 2, the never or prophylactic group, was also small compared with group 1. Iodine lockets, string shirts, underwear made of special material such as flannel (particularly red), sheep wool, angora wool, clothes made of modern synthetic fibres, and so on, would ward off arthritis.

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