\ˈgärd \

Definition of guard 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one assigned to protect or oversee another: such as

a : a person or a body of persons on sentinel duty Guards were posted around the camp.

b guards plural : troops attached to the person of the sovereign

c British : conductor sense b

2a : a defensive state or attitude asked him out when his guard was down

b : a defensive position (as in boxing)

3a : the act or duty of protecting or defending

b : the state of being protected : protection

4 : a protective or safety device specifically : a device for protecting a machine part or the operator of a machine

5 archaic : precaution

6a : a position or player next to the center in a football line

b : a player stationed in the backcourt in basketball

off guard

: in an unprepared or unsuspecting state Her angry response caught me off guard.

on guard

: defensively watchful : alert is on guard against terrorists


guarded; guarding; guards

Definition of guard (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to protect an edge of with an ornamental border

2a : to protect from danger especially by watchful attention : make secure police guarding our cities

b : to stand at the entrance of as if on guard or as a barrier

c : to tend to carefully : preserve, protect guarded their privacy

3 archaic : escort

4a : to watch over so as to prevent escape, disclosure, or indiscretion guarded the prisoners.

b : to attempt to prevent (an opponent) from playing effectively or scoring

intransitive verb

: to watch by way of caution or defense : stand guard guard against mistakes

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from guard


guarder noun

Choose the Right Synonym for guard


defend, protect, shield, guard, safeguard mean to keep secure from danger or against attack. defend denotes warding off actual or threatened attack. defend the country protect implies the use of something (such as a covering) as a bar to the admission or impact of what may attack or injure. a hard hat to protect your head shield suggests protective intervention in imminent danger or actual attack. shielded her eyes from the sun with her hand guard implies protecting with vigilance and force against expected danger. White House entrances are well guarded safeguard implies taking precautionary protective measures against merely possible danger. our civil liberties must be safeguarded

Examples of guard in a Sentence


There were dozens of police officers standing guard along the parade route. Tourists gather every day to watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. The guard must be in place before operating the meat slicer.


Two policemen were assigned to guard the prisoner. A tank guarded the bridge from enemy attack. A police officer was stationed outside to guard the door. They jealously guard their secrets. Her whereabouts are a tightly guarded secret.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The minister of information in the pro-rebel government, Abdel-Salam Gabir, said three security guards and an employee were among those killed in the attack in al-Marawa district in Hodeida. Ahmed Al-haj, Fox News, "Rebels say airstrike hits radio station in Yemen, killing 4," 16 Sep. 2018 In 1971, Jackson was accused of taking several guards and a couple of incarcerated people hostage in the San Quentin Prison. Jennie Neufeld, Vox, "A mass incarceration expert says the 2018 prison strike could be “one of the largest the country has ever seen”," 22 Aug. 2018 And then that the Marine guard and the ambassador helped us. Howard Reich,, "Precious possessions: The genocide survivors who kept them tell their stories," 13 July 2018 Nittany Lions guard and leading scorer Tony Carr was taken No. Jonas Shaffer,, "UMBC men's basketball to face Penn State in December," 12 July 2018 The big winner Lagerald Vick Vick appeared to have few appealing options left this summer after removing his name from the NBA Draft list, so Self's decision to allow him back surely came as a relief to the guard and his family. Jesse Newell, kansascity, "Whose playing time does Lagerald Vick impact most? Here's what one projection says," 10 July 2018 Also breaking 90 were two Raiders offensive linemen (center Rodney Hudson, 95; guard Kelechi Osemele, 90) and two 49ers players (defensive back Richard Sherman and offensive tackle Joe Staley each had 90). Noel Harris, sacbee, "‘It’s not so much the rating’: Why Jimmy Garoppolo’s ‘Madden NFL 19’ score causes stir," 10 July 2018 The Crusaders finished last in the Missouri Valley Conference this past season and lost starting guard and leading scorer Tevonn Walker to graduation this spring. Ben Pope,, "Former St. Joseph's guard Nick Robinson picks Valparaiso as transfer destination," 9 July 2018 Numan Acar: plays Nakim, head of the palace guards and one of Jafar's henchmen. Sydney Odman, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Aladdin': Everything to Know About the Live-Action Remake of the Disney Classic," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Toy makers closely guard their squishy-toy formulations, which are usually variations of polyurethane. Ellen Byron, WSJ, "This Year’s Holiday Toy Craze Involves a Lot of Squishing," 13 Nov. 2018 Iraqi security forces guard the main gate of Baghdad’s International Fair where ballot boxes are piled up inside a hall ahead of a recount, in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, July 9, 2018. Washington Post, "Iraq expands manual recount to 7 provinces," 9 July 2018 Like the performers who visited us that morning, the molfars of the western mountains guard the traditions of their nation from erasure. Linda Kinstler, Longreads, "Angrily Experiencing the Best Days of Our Lives," 27 June 2018 In a residential section of Harlingen, Texas, a man in a gold pickup truck guarded the front gate of a shelter for young children run under a federal contract by Southwest Key. Author: Maria Sacchetti, Kevin Sieff, Marc Fisher, Anchorage Daily News, "Separated migrant children are all over the country," 25 June 2018 With Dwyane Wade among the finalists, Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea on Wednesday was named winner of the 2018 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award. Ira Winderman,, "Josh Richardson offers his stance on role, contract, LeBron, Heat outlook," 13 June 2018 The specialist officers guard military assets such as the Trident nuclear warheads, the warship HMS Queen Elizabeth as well as the armed forces. Kitty Donaldson,, "Defense Police Cuts Put U.K. Nuclear Arsenal at Risk, Chief Says," 13 June 2018 Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has been named First Team All-NBA as All-NBA teams were announced Thursday by the league. Tim Brown,, "Damian Lillard named 1st Team All-NBA," 24 May 2018 Your faculty members guard that mission fiercely, and with good reason. Nestor Ramos,, "What kind of candidate for chancellor would turn up at UMass Boston now? This guy," 23 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'guard.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of guard


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1500, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for guard


Middle English garde, from Anglo-French garde, guarde, warde, from garder, guarder, warder, to guard, defend, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German wartēn to watch, take care — more at ward


see guard entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about guard

Statistics for guard

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for guard

The first known use of guard was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for guard



English Language Learners Definition of guard

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a state in which someone is carefully looking for possible danger, threats, problems, etc.

: a person whose job or duty is to watch and protect someone or something

: a group of people (such as soldiers) who protect a person or place



English Language Learners Definition of guard (Entry 2 of 2)

: to watch (someone) in order to prevent escape

: to protect (someone or something) from danger or attack

: to be careful about not telling or talking about (something, such as a secret)


\ˈgärd \

Kids Definition of guard

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person or a body of persons that guards against injury or danger the palace guard

2 : the act or duty of keeping watch An officer stood guard outside.

3 : a device giving protection a mouth guard


guarded; guarding

Kids Definition of guard (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to protect from danger : defend

2 : to watch over so as to prevent escape guard a prisoner

3 : to keep careful watch for in order to prevent I try to guard against mistakes.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on guard

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with guard

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for guard

Spanish Central: Translation of guard

Nglish: Translation of guard for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of guard for Arabic Speakers

Comments on guard

What made you want to look up guard? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!