\ ˈgärd How to pronounce guard (audio) \

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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Brandel, whose future in the NFL is likely as a guard, has been a leader for an offensive line that blocked for running back stars Ryan Nall and Jermar Jefferson., "Oregon State football, top 19 players for 2019: No. 10, Blake Brandel," 12 July 2019 Percy was working as a security guard at the time of his arrest, the marshals said. Adam Ferrise,, "Former part-time Woodmere police officer who skipped rape trial arrested by U.S. Marshals," 4 July 2019 Nick, now a junior guard at Mississippi State, played on two of those teams. Tom Orsborn,, "Quinndary Weatherspoon’s journey to Spurs began in hardscrabble hometown," 1 July 2019 As for why the Galaxy Fold was rushed to market so quickly, there's a good chance that Samsung was caught off-guard by its competition and wanted to beat everyone else to the foldables market. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Samsung CEO calls Galaxy Fold launch failure “embarrassing”," 1 July 2019 On his podcast, Redick, a free-agent guard himself, discussed how Towns has planned to meet with free-agents this offseason. Jace Frederick, Twin Cities, "With NBA free agency starting Sunday, Timberwolves ‘up to something’," 28 June 2019 But less from the guards, gates, and guns physical side. CBS News, "Transcript: Chris Krebs talks with Michael Morell on "Intelligence Matters"," 26 June 2019 John Miller lined up at right guard with Bobby Hart at right tackle. Dave Clark,, "Cincinnati Bengals lose top draft pick Jonah Williams for season after shoulder surgery," 25 June 2019 An Afghan security force member stood guard at the site of an attack in Ghazni province earlier this month. Craig Nelson, WSJ, "Afghans Supported by U.S. Repel Taliban to Increase Leverage in Talks," 24 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Firms must also take steps to guard against cyber-risks, which are growing. The Economist, "SecurityCompanies must get ready for a riskier world," 11 July 2019 They are prohibited from calling out or debunking propaganda produced by European websites or media, a limitation that is intended to guard against creeping infringements on free speech. Matt Apuzzo, New York Times, "Europe Built a System to Fight Russian Meddling. It’s Struggling.," 6 July 2019 Japanese officials began slaughtering 6,600 hogs in Toyota City in an attempt to contain classical swine fever, and Denmark planned to fence its border with Germany to guard against boars infected with African swine fever. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's magazine, "Findings," 10 Apr. 2019 Don't look now, but there's a full-size tiger guarding the backyard. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "Every Inch of This House Is Designed to Inspire You," 10 Apr. 2019 Analysis: An athletic power forward who can guard multiple positions and has some upside, Spalding is an intriguing option in the second round. Jeff Greer, The Courier-Journal, "2018 NBA draft: When might Louisville basketball players be selected?," 20 June 2018 Doctors in Boston have upgraded his condition from guarded to good, according to reports. Gabrielle Banks, Houston Chronicle, "Katy man sought as mastermind of mistaken ‘Big Papi’ shooting in Dominican Republic," 20 June 2019 Doctors in Boston have upgraded his condition from guarded to good. Author: Danica Coto, Anchorage Daily News, "Dominican AG: David Ortiz shooting was the result of mistaken identity," 19 June 2019 Somewhat counterintuitively, making sure ads are delivered in an unbiased manner means being more aware of user race and gender to guard against bias. Antonio García Martínez, WIRED, "Are Facebook Ads Discriminatory? It’s Complicated," 11 June 2019

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.

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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

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

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Statistics for guard

Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for guard

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

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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 How to pronounce guard (audio) \

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.

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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).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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