\ 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

State records show that Hayes also had a security guard license at the time., "WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Three women shot in the head, each dumped a month a part — the 2006 killings scared Daytona Beach’s street people so badly that they memorized suspicious men’s license plate numbers and gave them to police. And then suddenly the slayings stopped.," 17 Sep. 2019 Daniel Smith, a Lincoln football coach, said one security guard hassled a Lincoln player’s mother. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Community leaders want San Clemente High to apologize after alleged racial slurs against Lincoln students," 16 Sep. 2019 Police officers responded to a call of an unresponsive person around 6:21 a.m. at the Macy’s at 111 N. State St. A security guard had found the man in a bathroom. Marie Fazio,, "Man found dead in bathroom of Macy’s store in Loop," 16 Sep. 2019 The security guard and Daughtrey began yelling at each other while the women packed their belongings, police said. Colin Campbell,, "Towson attempted murder suspect told police: ‘If I intended to ever use the gun, I would never have missed’," 11 Sep. 2019 Finally, just before 4:30, nearly 40 minutes after Clarke and then other hotel employees entered the room, hotel security guards arrived, and Hapgood got up. Ezra Marcus, Town & Country, "In Anguilla, Scott Hapgood Awaits His Fate," 10 Sep. 2019 Sublet also allegedly disarmed the security guard and took his firearm before the three men exited the bank. Marcy De Luna, Houston Chronicle, "Three indicted in armed robbery at bank in Gallery Furniture," 5 Sep. 2019 Milwaukee Riverside graduate has been named to each of the past two Pro Bowls at guard and looks to have bounced back from a serious injury late last year. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "These former Wisconsin Badgers are all on NFL rosters as the season nears its kickoff," 3 Sep. 2019 The offensive line had a rotation at left guard, with sophomore Cole Clemmer and juniors Sam Weaver and Jake Trachtman all seeing time. Matt Szabo, Daily Pilot, "High School Football Player of the Week: CdM’s Ethan Garbers started with record-breaking night," 29 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And somewhere today, between the iconic pair of stone lions that guard the entrance and the map archives, sisters Tegan and Sara Quin. Leah Greenblatt,, "Tegan and Sara: The High School Years," 17 Sep. 2019 There are bonuses to be had as well: The program pays extra for snakes measuring more than four feet or for snakes that were sent to the afterlife while guarding snake eggs. Aj Willingham, CNN, "Florida is looking to hire 50 new citizen python hunters," 16 Sep. 2019 Hunters can further collect a $200 bonus for each python found guarding a nest of eggs. Fox News, "Florida doubles python hunters as over 1,000 apply for hourly wage job with bounty incentives," 16 Sep. 2019 But there's a case defensively as well: Someone has to guard the other team's best player. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Should Justise Winslow’s defense be prioritized?," 16 Sep. 2019 Some residents wanted to stay to guard their homes and belongings. Kevin Sieff,, "When Hurricane Dorian blew through the Bahamas, it exposed one of the world’s great faultlines of inequality," 16 Sep. 2019 Have the Raiders, with the addition of Lamarcus Joyner, figured out a plan to guard tight ends? Matt Kawahara,, "Need for speed: Raiders to test progress Sunday against Chiefs," 14 Sep. 2019 This, in turn, is a grave evil and something that the Christian must guard against. Jeffrey Peters,, "Peters: It is the sinner’s responsibility to turn back to God," 30 Aug. 2019 The point of permanently guarding the grave is to protect it against vandalism by the same people who once adored him. Riyaz Wani, Quartz India, "With Kashmir’s autonomy gone, its pro-India political parties have lost all credibility," 27 Aug. 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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Learn More about guard

Statistics for guard

Last Updated

10 Oct 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).


a topic to which one constantly reverts

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