deathwatch

1 of 2

noun (1)

death·​watch ˈdeth-ˌwäch How to pronounce deathwatch (audio)
: a small insect that makes a ticking sound
especially : deathwatch beetle

deathwatch

2 of 2

noun (2)

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

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

Noun (2)

death + watch (vigil)

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1646, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

circa 1676, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of deathwatch was in 1646

Dictionary Entries Near deathwatch

Cite this Entry

“Deathwatch.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deathwatch. Accessed 28 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

deathwatch

1 of 2 noun
death·​watch ˈdeth-ˌwäch How to pronounce deathwatch (audio)
: a small insect (as a beetle) that makes a ticking sound

deathwatch

2 of 2 noun
: a watch kept over the dead or dying
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