\ 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

Workers under the constant watch of security guards appear to be installing electrical wiring, plus heating and cooling units. CBS News, "Planned Parenthood builds Alabama clinic despite abortion law," 15 June 2019 Once inside the perimeter walls, tours are self-guided, and there are former prison guards and, yes, even former inmates nearby to answer questions and share stories. William M. Gurstelle, Twin Cities, "Good ol’ Rocky Top: Visit the history, music, science of northeast Tennessee," 15 June 2019 Order is maintained by security guards, who for decades were provided by the Pinkerton detective agency. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "Inside the Cultish Dreamworld of Augusta National," 14 June 2019 The enforcement of Rule 20 comes as the department faces a widespread corrections-officer shortage that has resulted in precarious guard-to-inmate ratios. Maria Polletta, azcentral, "Arizona prisons deny some intersex, transgender applicants despite staffing shortage," 12 June 2019 Poland, 1944; detained Jews being marched inside by Nazi guards. Peter Rubin, WIRED, "Goodbye X-Men—You Flawed, Frustrating Cinematic Revolution," 7 June 2019 Criminal Justice reporter Adam Ferrise explains the significance of two videos from inside the Cuyahoga County jail, videos that depict horrendous behavior by jail guards., "Lawyer Roger Synenberg’s astounding bad judgment, disturbing jail videos, Ohio’s Amazon cash bonanza, update on bikelife’s Streetgod and Armond Budish’s “gotcha guy” – This Week in the CLE," 6 June 2019 Moye declined, however, to require an armed guard as the city had suggested. Sarah Sarder, Dallas News, "Days after fatal South Dallas shootout, judge grants temporary restraining order on Jim's Car Wash," 6 June 2019 The Tallulah telegraph operator had been put under armed guard to prevent him from tapping out news of the men’s seizure and calling for help. Frank Viviano, The New York Review of Books, "Atrocities America Forgot," 6 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

While Howard, only a month in at U-M, offered was to 5-star guard Josh Christopher earlier this month. J.l. Kirven, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan basketball offers No. 1 prospect for 2021, Patrick Baldwin Jr.," 18 June 2019 The ensuing 3-wood narrowly cleared the bunker guarding the front left of the green and nestled into the second cut of greenside rough 16 feet from the cup. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "Gary Woodland holds off Brooks Koepka to win US Open," 17 June 2019 Fournier will be joined by Jazz center Rudy Gobert, Hornets forward Nicolas Batum, Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina and Bulls guard Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot. Roy Parry,, "Magic center Nikola Vucevic reportedly not being courted by Sacramento Kings," 17 June 2019 Woodland, 35, was tasked with guarding Hinrich in his first game for Division II Washburn University against Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse. Karen Crouse, New York Times, "How Basketball and Baseball Helped Gary Woodland Master Golf," 17 June 2019 In front of packed stands and a thick gallery, Amy hit a 6-hybrid about 105 yards, and into the sand guarding the right side of the green. Paul Daugherty,, "Paul Daugherty: What US Open champion Gary Woodland learned from Amy Bockerstette," 17 June 2019 Other awards went to: — Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic for rookie of the year. Jimmy Golen, Houston Chronicle, "Rockets' James Harden named MVP ... by fantasy leagues," 17 June 2019 In the bloody assault under heavy Confederate fire on Fort Wagner, which guarded the Charleston, S.C., harbor, almost half of the black troops were killed or captured. Charles Selle,, "Selle: Great divide remains over course of county’s Civil War Days," 17 June 2019 As previously mentioned, V has to infiltrate the base of a gang called the Animals, who are guarding a surveillance van that could spell trouble for Night City’s underworld. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Cyberpunk 2077 doesn’t look weird enough to be edgy," 14 June 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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Statistics for guard

Last Updated

20 Jun 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

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showing courage and determination

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