Definition of ford in English:



  • A shallow place in a river or stream allowing one to walk or drive across.

    • ‘Vaporous evening light dapples with shadows the descent to the ford as the path runs through tree-roots and, among the tree-roots, reeds and dangling ivy-trails edged in silver light.’
    • ‘Our way, the way, was another small valley, a last ford, a last track, and time left for a wander round Whitby.’
    • ‘The name refers to the Cowholm - the riverside meadow used as pasturage - through which the road ran to reach a ford across the river (later the site of Bishop's Bridge).’
    • ‘There had been a ford in the Manhan River at this exact spot, so perhaps the miners had brought their waste material across the river in ox-drawn carts.’
    • ‘Conesford was probably located east of the crossroads along Holmstrete, within the river-bend, giving proximity to the two likely fords indicated by those roads.’
    • ‘This has been the main road east out of London since Roman times, heading out to an ancient ford over the River Lea and onwards to Colchester.’
    • ‘Competitors covering the ten-mile laps of course have to tackle hills, winding narrow tracks, fast forest roads and stream fords from 8pm on Saturday, September 20 until 8am the following day.’
    • ‘A few minutes later, the river ford hove into sight, and desultory fire from the enemy began to interrupt the quiet of the dawn like toy cap guns.’
    • ‘If you attain this spirit, it applies to everyday life. You must always think of crossing at a ford.’
    • ‘The history of Maastricht goes back to approximately 50 B.C., when the Romans built a settlement by the main road near a ford in the river.’
    • ‘In early times this was one of the important fords over the River Griese, and was at that time called Athbiothlinn meaning The Ford of the House of Sustenance.’
    • ‘For example, if bridges in a road network are destroyed, maneuver forces will find other means - such as alternate routes, temporary bridges, or river fords - to accomplish their mission.’
    • ‘A Coptic Christian offered to show them a ford across the river.’
    • ‘If you carry on, follow the path across another bridge 2 where there is also a shallow ford, much loved by children.’
    • ‘You used to be able to drive across the ford at Watersplash Lane, but it had to be blocked off because cars kept getting stuck halfway across, and we had to get tractors out to pull them clear.’
    • ‘In this example, passage was used to describe a ford of the Jordan River.’
    • ‘The road from here was good for riding and we made some good time the only problem being a couple of fords of the main river which we took very carefully.’
    • ‘A mist began to settle in the treetops and drift slowly down into the lush valley where a stream cut a ford in the road.’
    • ‘Access is either by a footbridge over a river or an uninviting ford.’
    • ‘In 1559 extensive rebuilding took place around the pele tower, which obviously guarded a ford over the river.’
    crossing place, crossing, causeway
    shallow place
    View synonyms


  • (of a person or vehicle) cross (a river or stream) at a shallow place.

    • ‘For two days we hiked along the bottoms of immense canyons, in the shadows, jumping boulders, fording side streams, imagining Marco Polo doing the same thing.’
    • ‘It was rather like fording a river in flood today, crossing the main road in Williton.’
    • ‘Nothing in the vehicle is power-operated, so you could ford a river, have water sloshing through the cabin, and there's no electrics to fail.’
    • ‘They had been trekking for three days so far, stepping through knee-high grasses, fording crystalline streams, slipping on patches of pebbles.’
    • ‘I saw him lose it once, fording a stream, and he stayed behind and dived and dived until he found it.’
    • ‘Visitors are invited to climb aboard and enjoy a trek through the woodlands surrounding the village, fording a stream and passing through banana and pineapple plantations.’
    • ‘However, we had quite a scare when fording a river.’
    • ‘The boar lunged from his hole and into the river just as the lord was fording it, and the two met in frothing white water.’
    • ‘The Romans reputedly forded the river a few miles east of Mr Boanas' history-making attempt, but the river is believed to have been marshland then, and without the deep channels gouged out by modern shipping.’
    • ‘Fawning staffers strew petals in their path; highways are made straight for them; rivers are forded lest they get their feet wet.’
    • ‘That way, you'll know it wasn't fording the raging river, or facing down the grizzly, or surviving the thunderstorm that left you a little changed.’
    • ‘I had a happy childhood in the classic English bourgeois fashion: I read voraciously, I explored expansive gardens, I dare say I even forded a stream or two.’
    • ‘After fording a babbling stream, leaping over a few obtrusive rocks, and crawling through a suspiciously low tunnel, the five kids reached what could only be described as a holy wonder.’
    • ‘This route also involves crossing a high pass and fording a turbulent river, the Allt Cam in An Lairig.’
    • ‘It was a sunny day and, whether the boys were taking it easy or my stairwell training had paid off, I trekked up the rocky hillside and forded the icy river with relative ease.’
    • ‘Today I skied from base camp up to Heart Lake and back, traversing a couple of small passes, navigating by compass through two snow squalls, and fording a river.’
    • ‘We passed the occasional kamikaze truck driver hurtling down the narrow mountain roads; and forded green rivers that were spanned by metal bridges.’
    • ‘The Sligo river was forded somewhere close to the present bridge on Bridge Street.’
    • ‘The elephant passes through the wilderness, treading shrubs, bending and uprooting trees, fording rivers and lakes easily; the rat can gain access to the bolted granary.’
    • ‘The travelers forded the river and climbed the winding creekbed.’
    cross, traverse
    wade across, walk across, drive across, travel across, make it across, make one's way across
    View synonyms


Old English; related to Dutch voorde, also to fare.