\ 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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun One of the fatal shootings occurred when a private security guard at Mary’s Club and a 19-year-old man walking by got into a fight and exchanged gunfire. oregonlive, 20 Sep. 2022 Zach Ertz fell incomplete as Ertz tumbled into a security guard and sent him crashing to the turf in pain. Bob Mcmanaman, The Arizona Republic, 19 Sep. 2022 As entertaining as seeing Albarn come out to the audience was watching the security guard follow him close behind, keeping Albarn upright on his precarious perch by one arm as Albarn stood on the divider gates next to the festival-goers. Ethan Millman, Rolling Stone, 18 Sep. 2022 Across the street, the wave from the explosion had warped the heavy steel doors of a municipal court building, and firefighters had to use a special saw and a crowbar to free a security guard trapped inside. Michael Schwirtz, New York Times, 16 Sep. 2022 One security guard on Monday night gently asked a woman who had stopped walking to move forward. Stu Woo, WSJ, 13 Sep. 2022 The team from Kharkiv collected two other bodies during their visit, including a security guard whose remains have been rotting on the floor of a gravel elevator at an asphalt plant for months, even as the Russians used it as a sniper tower. Steve Hendrix, Serhii Korolchuk And Robyn Dixon, Anchorage Daily News, 12 Sep. 2022 The team from Kharkiv collected two other bodies during their visit, including a security guard whose remains have been rotting on the floor of a gravel elevator at an asphalt plant for months, even as the Russians used it as a sniper tower. Robyn Dixon, Washington Post, 11 Sep. 2022 The body of Powell, a mom of two boys 3 and 12, was found in the front passenger seat of her 2020 Nissan Rogue by a security guard in the parking lot of the Huebner Oaks Center in San Antonio on July 23, police told Fox News Digital. Charmaine Patterson, Peoplemag, 9 Sep. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum, a GlenOak graduate, was also at the Browns-Steelers game. Marla Ridenour, USA TODAY, 23 Sep. 2022 Sheriff's deputies often help guard dignitaries and celebrities who are visiting Detroit. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, 22 Sep. 2022 Rams guard Tremayne Anchrum broke his ankle on the first play of his first NFL start., 19 Sep. 2022 Shams Charania of The Athletic reported last week that Rockets guard Dennis Schröder would be moving on, signing a one year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. Rahat Huq, Chron, 19 Sep. 2022 Sparks guard Brittney Sykes was chosen to the WNBA’s all-defensive team for the third season in a row, it was announced Tuesday. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug. 2022 The former McDonald’s All-American figures to see an increase in playing time this season, particularly as star guard Paige Bueckers recovers from a torn ACL. Kels Dayton, Hartford Courant, 29 Aug. 2022 The 6-foot-1, 295-pound Smith, who has also seen time at center in preseason camp after working at tackle in the spring, has at least for the time being moved ahead of returning starter Anterrious Gray on the Jaguars’ guard pecking order. Creg Stephenson |, al, 24 Aug. 2022 Hand-checking is legal in the earlier years and dribble packages will be more simplified with the exception of players who were ahead of their time like Detroit Pistons guard Isiah Thomas. Brian Mazique, Forbes, 18 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near guard



guard's van

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Statistics for guard

Last Updated

24 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Guard.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for guard


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on guard

Nglish: Translation of guard for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of guard for Arabic Speakers


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