Idiom:  ward off something/someone

Image of a house with porch lights on at night: We keep our porch lights on at night to ward off burglars.


Idiom:  ward off something/someone (ward something/someone off)

  • to try to keep something/someone harmful away

Note:  This is also a phrasal verb. 

Example sentences

—  We keep the lights on our porch at night to ward off burglars.

—  This ointment is fantastic for warding off mosquitoes.

—  I would always lose weight and gain it back. My therapist helped me understand that I was trying to ward men off by being fat because of trauma from my childhood.

—  We need all of our citizens to wear masks to help us ward off the Coronavirus.

—  Many people hang an "evil eye" above the door of their homes to ward off evil spirits and bad luck

—  Farmers use scarecrows, objects that look like a person, to ward off crows and other birds from eating their crops.

—  The autopsy showed the victim used her arms to try to ward off the blows from the killer.

—  Spraying mace warded off the robber, giving my mother the chance to run away and scream for help.

—  Is garlic really powerful enough to ward vampires off?

—  I have a final exam tomorrow so I'm warding this cold off with heavy doses of vitamin C and every cold remedy I can find.

—  She's beautiful, smart and has a great figure but her desperation to get married and a have a baby wards off every potential boyfriend.

—  This is the best spray to ward off mosquitos. It also has a very light scent.


  • fend off
  • stave off
  • head off
  • keep at bay
  • fight off
  • keep at arm's length

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