noun (1)
death·​watch | \ ˈdeth-ˌwäch How to pronounce deathwatch (audio) \

Definition of deathwatch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a small insect that makes a ticking sound especially : deathwatch beetle


noun (2)

Definition of deathwatch (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a vigil kept over the dead or dying
2 : the guard set over a criminal to be executed

First Known Use of deathwatch

Noun (1)

1646, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

circa 1676, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for deathwatch

Noun (1)

death + watch (timepiece); from the superstition that its ticking presages death

Noun (2)

death + watch (vigil)

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Time Traveler for deathwatch

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The first known use of deathwatch was in 1646

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Cite this Entry

“Deathwatch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Sep. 2020.

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