\ 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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Latrell Sprewell, the Warriors’ 24-year-old All-Star, was beginning to emerge as one of the league’s top shooting guards. Connor Letourneau,, "Inside the couple of days Michael Jordan was (sort of) with the Warriors," 2 June 2020 At least 23 states and the District of Columbia had already deployed guard troops as of Monday morning, according to a statement from the National Guard. Time, "Some Democratic Governors Reject Trump's 'Incendiary' Call to Send in Military Amid Protests," 2 June 2020 Roughly 1,000 guard personnel began arriving overnight Sunday, and Newsom announced Monday an additional 1,100 National Guard troops would deployed to cities throughout the state. Caroline Linton, CBS News, "Over 7,200 people arrested in 43 U.S. cities this weekend, CBS News review finds," 2 June 2020 At least 23 states and the District of Columbia had already deployed guard troops as of Monday morning, according to a statement from the National Guard. Kathleen Ronayne, Anchorage Daily News, "Democratic governors reject Trump’s call to send in military," 2 June 2020 Senior Harry Crider, who played left guard last season, can also play center. Jon Blau, Indianapolis Star, "IU football lineman, Stanford transfer Dylan Powell gets another year of eligibility," 1 June 2020 Everyone knows the guy that shows up at a classic-car meet wearing a tweed jacket with sleeve guards and a tartan cap. Jens Meiners, Car and Driver, "2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition Throws Back to '50s and '60s," 1 June 2020 Still Faces Hit Abe reminded people to be on guard for a second wave of infections and said that, in the worst case, a state of emergency may have to be reintroduced. Isabel Reynolds,, "Japan Tentatively Begins to Open Up After Emergency Ends," 1 June 2020 In Los Angeles County, guard members remained in the streets ahead of a curfew resuming at 8 p.m. as large protests continued Sunday in several cities. NBC News, "In Minneapolis and across America, another night of anger," 1 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Portland’s late rally came after Blazers guard Kent Bazemore was ejected for the first time in his career with the Blazers still trailing by eight points with 3:06 left in the third quarter. oregonlive, "Trail Blazers Classics: Carmelo Anthony’s late jumper lifts Portland to stunning win over Toronto Raptors," 10 May 2020 Arrayed on either side of the car’s central corridor are ranks of bunks, upper and lower, each of them guarded, demurely but uselessly, by curtains. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "The Enduring Romance of the Night Train," 4 May 2020 Many are unpopulated, and most are shrouded in mystery, guarded furiously by officials to prevent trespassing and vandalism. John Hirschauer, National Review, "New York City’s Island of the Dead," 28 Apr. 2020 For each of the past 17 years, the All-England Lawn Tennis Club has paid for an insurance policy to guard against losses if Wimbledon should have to be canceled in the event of a worldwide pandemic. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, "Report: Wimbledon to receive $141 million in pandemic insurance payout," 10 Apr. 2020 Ten days after the Bloomington South game, Northern converted a game-winning 3-point play against Floyd Central while guarding Jake Heidbreder, the Highlanders’ best player, for most of the game. David J. Kim, The Courier-Journal, "Son of former Louisville basketball player is creating his own legacy at Silver Creek," 11 Mar. 2020 But there’s excess quickness, skill and long-range shooters on both squads in all classes, headlined Saturday by Sacred Heart Cathedral senior guard Kori McCoy, who drilled seven 3-pointers, many while closely guarded, and scored 26 points. Mitch Stephens,, "St. Ignatius, Sacred Heart Cathedral basketball teams could meet again," 2 Mar. 2020 The Byrne Program was named for New York City Police Officer Edward Byrne, who at age 22 was shot to death while guarding the home of a Guyanese immigrant cooperating with authorities investigating drug trafficking. Larry Neumeister,, "Court sides with Trump in ‘sanctuary cities’ grant fight," 26 Feb. 2020 Little added 22 points, and sophomore Ke’Mauri Millender had 14 points and seven boards while holding speedy Clear Falls guard Orlando Horton (14 points) to only five points in the second half and overtime. Jason Mcdaniel, Houston Chronicle, "Clear Brook uses double overtime to edge Clear Falls in playoff battle," 18 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for guard

Time Traveler

The first known use of guard was in the 15th century

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Statistics for guard

Last Updated

5 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Guard.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for guard


How to pronounce guard (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for guard

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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