\ 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

Overnight, several of the guards linked to the Bulls in free agency — Patrick Beverley, Cory Joseph, Ish Smith — agreed to deals. K.c. Johnson,, "Bulls to acquire Tomas Satoransky from the Wizards in a sign-and-trade deal," 1 July 2019 Brogdon, the 2016-17 Rookie of the Year, has developed into one of the better two-way guards in the league. Aj Neuharth-keusch, USA TODAY, "NBA free agency tracker: Live updates, analysis for all of the top players," 30 June 2019 With the exception of the guard who yelled at me, the people at Natick are improving lives. Tyler Kord, Popular Mechanics, "Cooking (and Shrinking) the Modern Combat Ration," 29 June 2019 Boone and Cora planned to visit Buckingham Palace before batting practice Friday to watch the changing of the guard. Washington Post, "London Calling: Yanks, Red Sox promote MLB’s Euro arrival," 28 June 2019 Changing of the guard This weekend, Londoners will experience a pair of Yankees-Red Sox matchups featuring a crop of far more congenial stars than those of Wells' era, led by the Yankees' Aaron Judge and Red Sox's Mookie Betts. Motez Bishara, CNN, "MLB London Series: Yankees and Red Sox greats recall championships, brawls and the Curse of the Bambino," 27 June 2019 Despite his pedigree as the son of longtime NBA guard Dell Curry, there were questions — about size, durability, position. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, "Drafting Stephen Curry," 25 June 2019 Cowan, who despite being one of the top guards in the Big Ten the past two seasons has never garnered much attention in the mock drafts, was projected as a late second-round pick (No. 56) by Don Markus,, "Looking ahead to 2020 NBA draft, Maryland could have multiple players taken," 25 June 2019 The Heat figure to have reduced need for an extensive preseason, with most of last season’s roster still in place, save for the retirement of guard Dwyane Wade. Ira Winderman,, "Heat reduce preseason to five exhibitions, including three at AmericanAirlines Arena," 25 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 What’s the one thing that Mondelez India as a leader needs to guard against? Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "Mondelez India goes low on sugar with new Cadbury Dairy Milk," 11 June 2019 While those plans vary, some involve stockpiling raw materials and other inputs to guard against interruptions to imports. Paul Hannon, WSJ, "U.K. Posts Slowest Growth in Six Years Amid Brexit Worries," 11 Feb. 2019 This allows people to let their guard down and really let the yoga happen. SELF, "8 Influencers Making the Wellness World More Inclusive," 7 Nov. 2018 Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a Category 2 storm late Wednesday night, but authorities warned the lower number does not mean residents should let their guard down and urged anyone in the storm's path to take all precautions necessary. Lucia I. Suarez Sang, Fox News, "'Life-threatening' Hurricane Florence shuts down North Carolina bar that never closes," 13 Sep. 2018 From dangerously higher water levels in lakes, rivers and streams to an influx of mosquitoes, experts say people shouldn’t let their guard down even if the sun is bright and the skies are blue. Helena Oliviero, ajc, "The rain may be over, but Lake Lanier remains unsafe for swimmers," 5 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

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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Learn More about guard

Statistics for guard

Last Updated

4 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

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