\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

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Other Words from guard


guarder noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for guard

Synonyms: Noun


Synonyms: Verb

bulwark, cover, defend, fence, fend, forfend, keep, protect, safeguard, screen, secure, shield, ward

Antonyms: Noun


Antonyms: Verb

assail, assault, attack

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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

The Jazz are slightly packed with guards, including Ricky Rubio, Donovan Mitchell, Dante Exum, Raul Neto, Grayson Allen and David Stockton. Katherine Fominykh,, "UMBC star Jairus Lyles ready to compete for Jazz roster spot after signing two-way deal," 14 July 2018 Lee, a junior guard, averaged 10.1 points and 7.3 rebounds last season. Bob Narang,, "Jacqueline Bickhaus preps for 'season to remember' at Buffalo Grove," 14 July 2018 The Nets traded for guard D’Angelo Russell, from the Los Angeles Lakers last summer. Rick Bonnell, charlotteobserver, "Why All-Star Kemba Walker’s New York ties should worry Charlotte Hornets," 13 July 2018 The starting guards, Cooper and Thomas, combined for 17.3 points and 10.6 assists per game. Shelby Dermer,, "Woodward freshman Paul McMillan IV already making a splash with summer play," 12 July 2018 One rear-guard attempt to disrupt the pipeline would have the European Union extend its energy-market regulations to pipelines such as Nord Stream 2 when only one end touches EU soil. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Trump and the Russia Pipeline," 11 July 2018 Wadolowski, a 5-8 guard, averaged 23.9 points and 10 rebounds and scored her 1,000th point as a senior. Lori Riley,, "Southington's Janette Wadolowski Named Courant Female Athlete Of The Year," 11 July 2018 Arnette, a 6-foot-3 freshman guard, averaged 16 points, eight assists and six rebounds on a Dallas Carter team last season that reached the state championship game. Drew Davison, star-telegram, "Frog Tracks: Pebley gets extension; men's hoops adds three," 10 July 2018 DiVincenzo, a 6-foot-5 guard out of Villanova, has yet to appear for the Bucks at the Las Vegas summer league. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bucks sign rookie guard Donte DiVincenzo," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

May the glory and honour that all ranks have bestowed on the Royal Air Force light its pathway to the future, guarding our skies and reaching for the stars. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth Kicks Off Today's Royal Air Force Centenary Celebrations at Westminster Abbey," 10 July 2018 But after the away team meets the Guardian of Forever, an incorporeal lifeform tasked with guarding a time gateway, the show takes a more interesting turn. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "Harlan Ellison Turned Star Trek Into Something More. Could It Happen Again?," 29 June 2018 Mondo, Lynwood His ceiling, to me, is a versatile wing who is able to guard multiple positions and provide another ballhandler. K.c. Johnson,, "Bulls Q&A: Should Wendell Carter Jr. enter Hall of Fame this week or next? What's the starting lineup?," 12 July 2018 Business owners, universities and government entities, among other groups, can hire these special officers to guard their property. Talia Richman,, "A 'special police officer' shot a Baltimore man. What is that?," 11 July 2018 Frick hired 300 agents from the Pinkerton Detective Agency to guard the mill, and on the morning of July 6, 1892, a civil battle ensued. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018 Then, the officer who took cover joined a team enters a darkened theater to guard the audience at a 1,800-seat Cirque du Soleil show. Ken Ritter, Fox News, "Police storm Vegas show to protect audience in Oct. 1 attack," 3 July 2018 In addition, the Heat have extended a qualifying offers to guard Derrick Jones Jr. and Derrick Walton Jr., who both finished the season on two-way contracts. Ira Winderman,, "Heat poised to guarantee 2018-19 salary of Rodney McGruder, keeping him from free agency," 30 June 2018 According to reports, firetrucks and private security were deployed to guard @MoSalah's home from the hundreds of fans who surrounded it. Khadrice Rollins,, "Fans Gather Outside Mo Salah's Home in Egypt After Address Leaked on Facebook," 29 June 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.

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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


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

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Statistics for guard

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

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 \

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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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).


evasion of direct action or statement

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