\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

Always have screens on all your windows, and consider installing window guards, too. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Emergency Responders Share 9 of the Biggest Death Traps in Your Home," 14 July 2018 The guard position in Miami has seemingly been cursed for some time now. Dave Hyde,, "Hyde5: Here's five reasons to feel better about the Miami Dolphins in July," 13 July 2018 The Atlanta Hawks acquired guard Jeremy Lin from the Brooklyn Nets for a 2020 second-round draft pick and the rights to 2016 second-round draft pick Isaia Cordinier, a person with direct knowledge of the trade told USA TODAY Sports. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "Atlanta Hawks land Jeremy Lin from Brooklyn Nets," 13 July 2018 According to Bloomberg News, a 17-year-old Guatemalan immigrant said guards would tell her and other girls who were as young as six that they’d go to jail. Christianna Silva, Teen Vogue, "Children Separated from Their Parents at the U.S.-Mexico Border Deserve Mental Health Treatment, Lawsuit Says," 13 July 2018 Today, the two-time All-Star guard more closely resembles Enron and Lehman Brothers. Ben Golliver,, "Grades: Isaiah Thomas Can Rejuvenate Career in Nuggets' Low-Risk Gamble," 13 July 2018 Ayon began punching Duran in the face and upper chest at around 7:20 p.m. on July 7, authorities say, and didn’t stop when prison guards turned on an alarm. Josh Magness, sacbee, "Inmate killed this convicted child molester who just arrived at prison, authorities say," 12 July 2018 The county park, which is only 25 feet by 100 feet, has been run for 69 years by a special district that put up the gate, hired guards and charges $100 a year to enter the picturesque reserve. Peter Fimrite,, "Fight brewing over Privates Beach in Santa Cruz County, which charges $100 yearly fee," 12 July 2018 Coleman, Osetkowski, and freshman guard Courtney Ramey will take some of the ball-handling burden off Roach, leaving his development as a shooter as potentially the most important aspect of his development heading into the 2018-19 season. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Roach’s return key for Longhorns," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

To guard against the possibility of contamination, the three officers were given showers and a change of clothing. Wayne K. Roustan,, "Police officers treated for chemical exposure, fire officials said," 12 July 2018 Former Councilman Jason White said the charter was written to guard against the favoritism that was pervasive in city hiring practices before professional administrators were brought in to run city government in a more businesslike matter. Steve Vockrodt And Mike Hendricks, kansascity, "Acting director of Independence Power & Light to resign after fractious city meeting," 27 June 2018 Unlike some other OEMs, Volvo has been more closely guarded with its self-driving tests. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Volvo’s self-driving cars are getting new laser sensors to see the world," 14 June 2018 Marriotts Ridge’s defensive plan Monday included face-guarding senior Georgia Esmond, one of the county’s top point scorers who notched four goals against the Mustangs’ in a 15-10 Glenelg win on April 13. Kyle Stackpole, Howard County Times, "Glenelg girls lacrosse prevails against Marriotts Ridge in sectional final," 15 May 2018 While city leaders including Mayor Dave Bieter support increasing housing density to guard against urban sprawl and provide more housing, some multifamily-unit projects lately have drawn neighborhood opposition. John Sowell, idahostatesman, "A Boise developer wanted to build homes on a former community garden. What happened? | Idaho Statesman," 11 May 2018 Bob O’Neill, president of the Grant Park Conservancy, which administers the Lollapalooza site, says festival organizers are working closely with hotels near the park to share security and communications strategies to guard against a similar attack. Dave Brooks, Billboard, "Festival Security After Route 91: Elaborate and Expensive - But Not Foolproof," 12 Apr. 2018 At the May protest, another participant insisted Ortiz don a black hat and sunglasses to conceal his face; another walked alongside him to guard against any attempt by border agents to seize him. Gabriel Thompson, Longreads, "Coachella, Underground," 12 Apr. 2018 Last week, the city shelter, already jammed with an overabundance of homeless dogs and cats, took charge of seven large canines that police said were guarding marijuana houses in south Sacramento. Cynthia Hubert, sacbee, "Marijuana guard dogs strain animal shelter as illegal pot grows rise in Sacramento," 27 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

7 Nov 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).


something that serves to warn or remind

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