guard

1 of 2

noun

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
2
a
: a defensive state or attitude
asked him out when his guard was down
b
: a defensive position (as in boxing)
3
a
: 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
6
a
: a position or player next to the center in a football line
b
: a player stationed in the backcourt in basketball

guard

2 of 2

verb

guarded; guarding; guards

transitive verb

1
: to protect an edge of with an ornamental border
2
a
: 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
4
a
: 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
guarder noun
Phrases
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
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

Noun 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. Verb 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 Southern Section Open Division boys final has Harvard-Westlake taking on Eastvale Roosevelt in a battle of elite guards. Eric Sondheimer, Los Angeles Times, 19 Feb. 2024 The Titans routinely doubled the 6-foot guard, with a third defender occasionally sagging to help. Don Norcross, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Feb. 2024 There are no monsters here — even Hilde’s Nazi guards treat her kindly and complain about the injustice of her trial — only flawed ordinary people, some braver than others. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 Feb. 2024 The new era also represents a changing of the executive guard. Kevin Crowley, Fortune, 17 Feb. 2024 Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will start as the backcourt duo this year. Shayna Rubin, The Mercury News, 17 Feb. 2024 Hill, a senior who came into this season with 95 career starts, is one of those seasoned guards. Ron Counts, Idaho Statesman, 16 Feb. 2024 According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Cleveland Cavaliers have signed rookie guard Craig Porter Jr. to a four-year deal. Chris Manning, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 The dark van drove past the Embassy’s red-and-white-striped guard post and exploded, ripping off the façade. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, 6 Feb. 2024
Verb
The family film, co-starring Olivia Colman, Keegan-Michael Key and Hugh Grant as an Oompa-Loompa, centers on the early days of Willy Wonka and takes place long before a poor boy named Charlie Bucket wins a golden ticket to tour the world-famous and heavily guarded chocolate factory. Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 18 Feb. 2024 Micah Parsons was practicing for the 2024 Ruffles NBA All-Star Celebrity Game on Thursday when Stephen A. Smith attempted to guard him. Lawrence Dow, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 16 Feb. 2024 Suns guard Grayson Allen was fouled by Fox to stop the clock with 18.1 seconds left. Chris Biderman, Sacramento Bee, 14 Feb. 2024 The detective, hired to guard the ladies’ jewelry, who falls in love with the ladies, especially Lee Radziwill, and ends by asking to dance. . . . Gloria Steinem, Vogue, 14 Feb. 2024 The voters were high on Gonzaga because the program had two starters back (forward Anton Watson and guard Nolan Hickman) and added talented transfers in 6-foot-9 forward Graham Ike (Wyoming) and guard Ryan Nembhard (Creighton). Tim Casey, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 Still, Kroupa closely guards his phone number and email address. Corin Cesaric, Peoplemag, 8 Feb. 2024 Miller started guarding Bailey and was effective cooling him off. Eric Sondheimer, Los Angeles Times, 8 Feb. 2024 Last week, Self warned freshman Johnny Furphy that teams would guard him differently after his recent tear. Shreyas Laddha, Kansas City Star, 6 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'guard.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

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

First Known Use

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1500, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near guard

Cite this Entry

“Guard.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/guard. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

guard

1 of 2 noun
1
: an attitude or state of defense
asked dad for money when his guard was down
2
: the act or duty of protecting or defending
3
a
: a person who guards or a group of persons who guard
b
plural : a body of troops whose duties include guarding a head of state
4
a
: a football player who lines up next to the center
b
: either of two players stationed usually away from the basket in basketball
5
: a protective or safety device (as on a machine)

guard

2 of 2 verb
1
: to protect from danger : defend
2
: to watch over so as to restrict, control, or check
guard a prisoner
a closely guarded secret
guard one's tongue
3
: to try to keep (an opponent) from scoring
4
: to be on guard : take precautions
guard against infection

More from Merriam-Webster on guard

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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