A ward is a local authority area, typically used for electoral purposes. In some countries, wards are usually named after neighbourhoods, thoroughfares, parishes, landmarks, geographical features and in some cases historical figures connected to the area (e.g. William Morris Ward in the London Borough of Waltham Forest). It is common in the United States for wards to simply be numbered.
The word “ward”, for an electoral subdivision, appears to have originated in the Wards of the City of London, where gatherings for each ward known as “wardmotes” have taken place since the 12th century. The word was much later applied to divisions of other cities and towns in England and Wales and Ireland.
In Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States, wards are an electoral district, within a district or municipality, used in local government elections. In the United States, wards are usually subdivided into precincts for polling purposes.
In some cities of India, such as Mumbai and Delhi, a ward is an administrative unit of the city region; a city area is divided into Zones, which in turn contain numerous wards. The smallest administrative unit of Gram Panchayats in India is also known as a ward.
In East Africa, the word ward used in English is translated into Swahili/Kiswahili as Kata.
In the case of a municipal amalgamation, the former cities and towns that make up the new metropolis may be referred to as wards.
In the Republic of Ireland, urban divisions were called Wards and rural ones District Electoral Divisions; but the Wards were renamed as District Electoral Divisions in 1994. The electoral districts for Irish local authorities are often popularly called "wards". These consist of multiple electoral divisions, and are officially called "local electoral areas".
In Japan, a ku (or 区 in Japanese writing) is an administrative unit of one of the larger cities, closely equivalent to the divisions or wards of a London Borough or a New York Borough. In Vietnam, a phường is an administrative subunit of an inner city district, or quận. Wards and electoral divisions of Nepal are political divisions which are grouped into Gaunpalika (Rural council) and Municipality. A rural municipality or municipality has minimum of five and maximum of 33 divisions.