Definition of warden in English:



  • 1A person responsible for the supervision of a particular place or activity or for enforcing the regulations associated with it:

    ‘the warden of a nature reserve’
    ‘an air-raid warden’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Borough wardens who are responsible for more than 5,000 households are given three ear thermometers.’
    • ‘Police in the county now employ around 115 wardens to enforce traffic regulations along with officers, with fines going to central government funds.’
    • ‘Certain police-style powers will also be given to accredited private security guards and community wardens under the proposals.’
    • ‘In prior wars, we might have volunteered to be air-raid wardens or to roll bandages at the Red Cross.’
    • ‘It was the responsibility of air raid wardens to ensure that everybody had been issued with a gas mask.’
    • ‘The Rainbow Garden Project is a collaboration of efforts from the Victoria Avenue pupils and local street wardens.’
    • ‘An administrator for the Parks and Walcot street wardens, he regularly dons his warden uniform to help run the juniors wardens ' activities.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At the end of October the wardens started to strictly enforce the regulations throughout the district.’
    • ‘There are no particular hot-spots but wardens respond to individual complaints and liaise with residents if a new bin was requested.’
    • ‘New council wardens brought in to enforce parking restrictions have been accused of being over-zealous following Witham's recent electricity blackout.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The wardens were quick to respond a sincere thank you - a good deed is never forgotten.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I ran home and told dad and, as he was an air-raid warden, he knew what to do.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Other attractions include a 1940s fashion show and villagers dressed as air raid wardens and GIs.’
    superintendent, supervisor, steward, overseer, caretaker, janitor, porter, custodian, watchman, concierge, doorman
    ranger, custodian, keeper, guardian, protector, preserver, curator
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    1. 1.1British The head of certain schools, colleges, or other institutions:
      ‘the Warden of All Souls College, Oxford’
      • ‘The warden of the College expressed the consensus of these essays in this way.’
      • ‘There has been a letter from the warden of Morley College blaming Moloko's for distress to their residents.’
      • ‘Alan Ryan is a warden at New College, Oxford University.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Professor Jessica Rawson, warden of Merton College, said no able student should be deterred from applying to Oxford by financial concerns.’
      principal, head, governor, master, mistress, rector, provost, president, chief, director, chancellor, vice chancellor
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    2. 1.2 A prison officer:
      ‘securely handcuffed to a warden, he was taken to Wandsworth Prison’
      • ‘I was unable to speak to them but if you yelled loudly enough through the small slot in the door you could communicate with other prisoners until the wardens came along to break it up.’
      • ‘The senate commission is also likely to recommend a purge of lying wardens and rogue guards.’
      • ‘There are wardens that spit at their prisoners, and deny them all hygiene, medicine and, it seems, food.’
      • ‘Also making the garden safer, 24/7 Security Services provides security and has donated batons and handcuffs for wardens.’
      • ‘She said that protesters had complained about rude treatment by wardens and also demanded an opportunity to freely distribute money among convicts without consulting the wardens.’
      • ‘The warden wants Crewe to coach the prison guards' football team, in hopes of acquiring some kind of semi-pro national championship.’
      • ‘Saki sat down and was handcuffed to his seat just as the jail warden walked on to the platform at the front of the room.’
      • ‘For a warden, the need for both routine and vigilance means experiencing radical swings in emotion several times each day.’
      • ‘The offices in Talo Udang Bay became the headquarters of the warden and in June 1941 the first group of 500 prisoners arrived.’
      • ‘Prisoners are fed breakfast, lunch and dinner by wardens who come down the corridors with ready-cooked food on trolleys but many inmates prefer to make their own meals in the evening.’
      • ‘The wardens of some of the police court prisons say they have more public spitters in their custody than any other class of offender.’
      • ‘After leaving the military Kerik worked for a private security firm in Saudi Arabia and served as a prison warden in New Jersey in 1986.’
      • ‘A martial arts expert, he had served in the military, worked as the warden of a county jail in New Jersey, and later as a security contractor for the Saudi monarchy.’
      • ‘He held baby son Ben only once, handcuffed to prison wardens and given no time alone, before Ben died.’
      • ‘The warden dismissed the accusations made by Smith and the other prisoners as lies and exaggerations.’
      • ‘While behind bars, he takes up boxing at the urging of the warden (having bitten the ear off the prison bully in a fight) and finds a new desire to actually do something with his life.’
      • ‘The conflict is turning into a full - blown tragedy, with both sides cast in the role of warden and prisoner.’
      • ‘Presented by a large cast of colourful characters, The Quare Fellow paints a portrait of life inside an Irish prison, in which songs, humour and compassion evoke the banter between inmates and wardens.’
      • ‘Waiters and waitresses wear prison uniforms and the busboys are dressed like policemen and wardens.’
      • ‘I was put in jail, but every day the warden let me read what had been printed locally about my case that day.’
      prison officer, guard, jailer, keeper, sentry, captor
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    3. 1.3North American A prison governor.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The warden announced that the execution could begin, and I told him that I loved him.’
      • ‘The warden of the prison denied accusations that he turned a blind eye to the extortion of prisoners' families by his guards.’
      • ‘In the petition, a prison warden attests that Rahman has ‘worked hard in trying to be a positive influence on other death row inmates.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘If a second disciplinary hearing does take place, Boesak will appear before the prison warden, management and other key players.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Of the disturbed prisoners he wrote credulously, ‘The warden of the prison has assured us that they arrived in this state at the prison.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘While other prison wardens are accountable to courts of law for abuses they perpetrate, security forces are not.’
      • ‘Their only hope lies in Kate Soffel, the prison warden's sensitive and beautiful wife.’
      • ‘Those are offenses properly addressed by judges, juries, and prison wardens.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The prison warden in this case will undoubtedly ask the Supreme Court to review this case.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Keeping drugs out of prisons is what wardens try to do.’


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