Definition of warden in US English:



  • 1A person responsible for the supervision of a particular place or thing or for ensuring that regulations associated with it are obeyed.

    ‘the warden of a local nature reserve’
    ‘an air-raid warden’
    • ‘Borough wardens who are responsible for more than 5,000 households are given three ear thermometers.’
    • ‘The wardens were quick to respond a sincere thank you - a good deed is never forgotten.’
    • ‘This was sounded whenever German planes passed over the coastline to give us and our air-raid wardens time to go to the basement for shelter.’
    • ‘The unit, formed under the Litter Act, comprises 12 wardens who will be responsible for minimising incidents of indiscriminate dumping of garbage in the city.’
    • ‘In prior wars, we might have volunteered to be air-raid wardens or to roll bandages at the Red Cross.’
    • ‘When World War Two broke out Jack was called up and Dorothy took over the round and was also an air-raid warden one day a week.’
    • ‘Each borough council in Lancashire, in conjunction with the county council, has adopted Parkwise and employed dozens of parking wardens to enforce regulations in streets and on car parks.’
    • ‘Now Bradford Council wants to recruit six wardens and a supervisor for Keighley and a further seven to join the five already operating in the city centre.’
    • ‘An administrator for the Parks and Walcot street wardens, he regularly dons his warden uniform to help run the juniors wardens ' activities.’
    • ‘Other attractions include a 1940s fashion show and villagers dressed as air raid wardens and GIs.’
    • ‘At the end of October the wardens started to strictly enforce the regulations throughout the district.’
    • ‘The Rainbow Garden Project is a collaboration of efforts from the Victoria Avenue pupils and local street wardens.’
    • ‘Perhaps we need a set of municipal regulations and wardens or beach guards appointed by the city to assist the police in coping with the workload.’
    • ‘It was the responsibility of air raid wardens to ensure that everybody had been issued with a gas mask.’
    • ‘Police in the county now employ around 115 wardens to enforce traffic regulations along with officers, with fines going to central government funds.’
    • ‘New council wardens brought in to enforce parking restrictions have been accused of being over-zealous following Witham's recent electricity blackout.’
    • ‘There are no particular hot-spots but wardens respond to individual complaints and liaise with residents if a new bin was requested.’
    • ‘Certain police-style powers will also be given to accredited private security guards and community wardens under the proposals.’
    • ‘I ran home and told dad and, as he was an air-raid warden, he knew what to do.’
    • ‘The plans will take the responsibility for wardens out of their hands and free up more of their resources, allowing them to tackle serious crime.’
    superintendent, supervisor, steward, overseer, caretaker, janitor, porter, custodian, watchman, concierge, doorman
    ranger, custodian, keeper, guardian, protector, preserver, curator
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A churchwarden.
      • ‘At St Philip's Church he was a former trustee, vicar's warden and a lay reader.’
      • ‘The Reverend, secretary and warden of St Mary the Virgin Church in Edvin Loach, travelled 100 miles to Trowbridge in a farm trailer to pick up the two bells stolen in a raid on the church seven years ago.’
      • ‘She is about to quit as warden of St Timothy's Church in Liden because she despairs of the chronic vandalism against the church there.’
      • ‘Matthew's mum Loraine, who still lives in the village and until last year was the warden of the church, said she was thrilled that Matthew had chosen to return to South Marston for the wedding.’
      • ‘He had been a past member of the N.S. Welldriller Association, scout leader and warden of St. Luke's Church for a number of years.’
      • ‘At the back of church, the wardens used to lock the doors to stop the drunks, taking a short-cut through the church yard on the way back from the pub, disturbing the service.’
      • ‘Smith was too upset to talk about the decision, said Bob Barnes, the church's senior warden.’
      • ‘There is no way that wardens can keep churches open these days with people like these around.’
      • ‘I have been privileged to work with a lot of wardens and church people, and have enjoyed every minute.’
      • ‘The process really started when I was the senior warden at an Episcopal church in Florida while I was working with Disney.’
      • ‘To block the Bishop's giveaway, Lewis, along with his church and senior warden, filed suit, claiming to act on behalf of the entire Diocese of Pittsburgh.’
      • ‘Born at Elm Farm, Low Moor Lane, Len attended Rillington Primary School and sang with Rillington Church choir, later becoming warden for 30 years.’
      • ‘Martin Wraith, the first warden when the church moved to Littlelands from a site next to the Sun Inn in Cottingley New Road, said it marked the end of a happy era.’
      • ‘Since the book's publication, in June, it has sold 200 copies and made a few hundred pounds for Blackburn's Church of the Saviour, where Jean serves as warden.’
      • ‘Though much of the Brisbane family was Baptist, William was adopted at age six by a wealthy, childless uncle who was a warden of a Charleston Anglican church.’
      • ‘But a warden at the church said the measures had been introduced following advice from an insurance company.’
    2. 1.2British The head of certain schools, colleges, or other institutions.
      • ‘Professor Jessica Rawson, warden of Merton College, said no able student should be deterred from applying to Oxford by financial concerns.’
      • ‘Alan Ryan is a warden at New College, Oxford University.’
      • ‘There has been a letter from the warden of Morley College blaming Moloko's for distress to their residents.’
      • ‘Now shopkeepers on Manchester Road have sent a petition to Pendle Borough Council complaining Parkwise wardens are damaging their business by booking shoppers who park for just a couple of minutes too long.’
      • ‘The warden of the College expressed the consensus of these essays in this way.’
      principal, head, governor, master, mistress, rector, provost, president, chief, director, chancellor, vice chancellor
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3North American The head official in charge of a prison.
      • ‘Legend has it that wardens of some federal prisons kept a picture of Alcatraz in their offices as a warning to troublesome inmates of the price of misbehavior.’
      • ‘The Semarang prison warden later contacted the Cipinang Penitentiary warden, who in turn contacted the Supreme Court.’
      • ‘Most recipes involve fresh fruit and wardens at some prisons have went so far as to ban fruit from prisoners' meals in hopes of curtailing production.’
      • ‘A lieutenant warden in the prison recognized his former teacher and trekked down the hill and into Barcelona to leak Tarrida's arrest to the press.’
      • ‘New York City Prisons warden Sidney Brewster said ‘every addict is a potential criminal.’’
      • ‘Alta Boover had a blast as Prince Orlofsky, giving us all a treat with her antics, and Jeremiah Butterfield was suitably gauché as Frank, the prison warden.’
      • ‘Prisoners spend twenty two and a half hours a day locked in a small, permanently lit, windowless cell, buried alive on the orders of the warden or prison staff, not the courts.’
      • ‘In the petition, a prison warden attests that Rahman has ‘worked hard in trying to be a positive influence on other death row inmates.’’
      • ‘Smith, who walks with a limp and is covered with lesions, says the prison warden and another official threatened him.’
      • ‘The warden of prisons was contacted for information on the convict's behavior on the chain gang, or in a few cases on the State Farm.’
      • ‘She will be sworn in September 16 as the first black female warden of a Wisconsin state prison.’
      • ‘The prison warden in this case will undoubtedly ask the Supreme Court to review this case.’
      • ‘If a second disciplinary hearing does take place, Boesak will appear before the prison warden, management and other key players.’
      • ‘Their only hope lies in Kate Soffel, the prison warden's sensitive and beautiful wife.’
      • ‘The former warden of Parchman prison in Mississippi spoke out against capital punishment.’
      • ‘Those are offenses properly addressed by judges, juries, and prison wardens.’
      • ‘Keeping drugs out of prisons is what wardens try to do.’
      • ‘Frank Conley, who served as warden until 1921, shaped the prison's philosophy and appearance.’
      • ‘We met the prison warden, who was a little man in an ill fitting uniform, but he told us, ‘Preach the Word because these men need the Gospel.’’
      • ‘This guy is on a tour of the state prison with the warden.’
      • ‘The son of the prison warden, he embarked on a career of redesigning and refining execution devices.’
      • ‘While other prison wardens are accountable to courts of law for abuses they perpetrate, security forces are not.’
      • ‘She quoted prison warden General Braddon as saying ‘many, many prisoners have already died’ there, mainly from dysentery and pneumonia.’
      • ‘After all, they knew Young worked in Virginia and probably lived there too, as he was the warden of the very prison they were investigating.’
      • ‘Then the Sheriff began to relate the history of Jake, or the amount that Warden Doyle had told him of, and how Jake and the prison warden had become friends.’
      • ‘The warden of the prison denied accusations that he turned a blind eye to the extortion of prisoners' families by his guards.’
      • ‘On his arrival at The Castle, Irwin is met by prison warden, Colonel Winter, who talks openly of his admiration for his new inmate.’
      • ‘Of the disturbed prisoners he wrote credulously, ‘The warden of the prison has assured us that they arrived in this state at the prison.’’
      • ‘Born and raised in Penghu, Ou showed her love for her hometown by setting up a writing class at Ting Wang Prison after being invited by Liao Teh-fu, former warden of the prison, to give a speech to its inmates.’
      • ‘The warden announced that the execution could begin, and I told him that I loved him.’


Middle English (originally denoting a guardian or protector): from Anglo-Norman French and Old Northern French wardein, variant of Old French guarden ‘guardian’.