I've often found myself writing a sentence and wondering whether I should be using toward or towards. Was there a difference, anyway? Turns out not. Toward is used slightly more in American English than towards (about five times more), and some pedants will say that towards is incorrect, but both are actually acceptable. Meanwhile, towards is used three times more in British English. It really, really doesn't matter, though. Both forms come from Old English toweard, with the same general meaning of "in the direction of". This combines the word to and the suffix -weard, which implied direction. To in Old English and Proto-Germanic was basically the same, but could also be spelled ta, and in Proto-Indo-European, it could be de or do, but with the same definition (simple words often have simple etymologies). -Weard also comes from Proto-Indo-European through Proto-Germanic; in this case, it may be reconstructed to wer, meaning "to turn".
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a junior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.