\ 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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And clearly, opponents are sure to adapt to the Spurs’ new four-guard look. Mike Finger,, "Mike Finger: For the San Antonio Spurs, might an unlikely objective await?," 1 Aug. 2020 On the offensive line, it’s basically Brandon Scherff (right guard) or bust in terms of run blocking. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: How Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys’ run game stacks up vs. other NFC East rushing attacks," 29 July 2020 The 5-foot-10 guard signed with Campus Promete, a Spanish team in Logrono, a city in Northern Spain. oregonlive, "Former Oregon State guard Mikayla Pivec plans to begin her professional basketball career in Spain," 14 July 2020 Cunningham to report soon, Breland's status uncertain Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said nine of the Mercury's 11 players are in Bradenton and that guard Sophie Cunningham would be joining soon, perhaps this weekend. Jeff Metcalfe, The Arizona Republic, "Mercury's Diana Taurasi 'made for quarantine' because of years in Russia," 11 July 2020 The Bulldogs have landed their first five-star recruit in Minnesota combo-guard Jalen Suggs, a high-level recruit in basketball and football. Stephen Means, cleveland, "HBCUs can follow the Gonzaga footprint in finding college basketball success: Buckeye Take," 10 July 2020 Yet, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard predicted not everyone will follow his lead. Mark Medina, USA TODAY, "Why are NBA players, coaches and executives willing to resume the season?," 6 July 2020 Sterile Gauze Ever been caught off-guard by your period, with nary a tampon (let alone a tampon alternative) in sight? Suzannah Weiss, Glamour, "5 Tampon Alternatives You Need to Know About," 6 July 2020 Sallis, a 6-3, 165-pound guard, has scholarship offers from Gonzaga, Kansas, Louisville, North Carolina, Oregon, Iowa and several other schools. Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "UW hoops recruit Chucky Hepburn has a new goal: Convince longtime friend Hunter Sallis to join him," 1 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In his second season as an assistant at Buffalo, Hodgson recruited one of his former Midland players, guard Dontay Caruthers, to play his final two years for Oats. Mike Rodak |, al, "How foster care, adoption changed path of Tide’s top basketball recruiter," 13 July 2020 During the past week, however, the problems have been rectified, Sparks guard Seimone Augustus assured. Los Angeles Times, "Sparks to open 22-game season against the star-packed Phoenix Mercury on July 25," 13 July 2020 In March, Los Angeles Sparks guard Sydney Wiese of Phoenix tested positive for coronavirus. Jeff Metcalfe, The Arizona Republic, "Former ASU, Mercury guard Briann January tests positive for coronavirus," 12 July 2020 Now the Perdue employee put on extra layers to guard against the chill inside the factory. Michael E. Miller, Washington Post, "‘Are you ready to go back?’ After covid-19, a poultry worker fears a return to work.," 6 July 2020 Lakers guard Avery Bradley opted not to play because of concerns about his 6-year-old son’s history of respiratory illness. Mark Medina, USA TODAY, "NBA restart: Are the Lakers or Clippers better prepared to resume the season?," 2 July 2020 Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie also tested positive, forcing the Nets to close their practice facility for several days before reopening. oregonlive, "NBA commissioner Adam Silver remains confident about restart as coronavirus surges," 1 July 2020 Several basketball players are also taking a pass, including Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley whose six-year-old son has struggled with respiratory illnesses. Stephen Collinson With Caitlin Hu, CNN, "So much for the West's warnings -- China's going to do what China's going to do," 30 June 2020 Center Dragan Bender and guard Chasson Randle joined the Warriors with designs on parlaying 10-day contracts into long-term NBA roles. Connor Letourneau,, "10-day contracts: Will Bender, Randle get another shot with Warriors?," 28 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for guard

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for guard

Last Updated

6 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Guard.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for guard


How to pronounce guard (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for guard

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with guard

Spanish Central: Translation of guard

Nglish: Translation of guard for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of guard for Arabic Speakers

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