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To push back or defend against someone or something that is advancing. A noun or pronoun can be used between "ward" and "off." How will we ward off all these attackers? If you feel like you're getting a cold, these vitamin C tablets should help you to ward it off. These talismans were thought to ward off evil spirits.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
ward someone or something off
to hold someone or something off; to fight someone or something off. The army was able to ward the attackers off repeatedly. We couldn't ward off the attackers any longer.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Turn aside, parry, as in He tried to ward off her blows. [Second half of 1500s]
2. Try to prevent, avert, as in She took vitamin C to ward off a cold. [Mid-1700s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To try to prevent; avert: You should take vitamins to ward off infections.
2. To turn something aside; repel: The champion boxer warded off the opponent's blows. The flies were annoying me, but I warded them off.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.