\ 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 Hall, a security guard for the downtown Economic Improvement District, had tried to question Lotches about a minor assault. oregonlive, "Who’s on Oregon’s death row: 27 men; 2 others held elsewhere," 15 May 2020 In a shopping mall in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a security guard checking the temperatures of patrons said this week that his salary had been slashed after the started to spread. Kareem Fahim, Washington Post, "Worst financial crisis in decades deals blow to Saudi prince’s ambitions for the kingdom," 14 May 2020 Acevedo worked as a security guard in the area, so their paths crossed. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Off-duty MPD officer charged with homicide, accused of putting man in fatal 'chokehold' during fight at his house," 13 May 2020 AJ Garrity, a 6-foot-3 guard, started all 61 games during a two-year career at Santiago Canyon Junior College. Anchorage Daily News, "UAA men’s basketball team adds another shooting guard," 13 May 2020 Parker was a four-year starting guard for Antonian basketball. David Hinojosa,, "Antonian alum Brittany Parker earns high honors at Texas A&M," 12 May 2020 Police in Michigan are investigating whether a Family Dollar store security guard was shot and killed over a dispute about a customer not wearing a mask. Caitlin Yilek, Washington Examiner, "Police investigating whether Michigan security guard killed over mask dispute," 4 May 2020 King worked nights as a security guard in and around Dallas. Dallas Morning News, "Texas law enforcement uses hypnosis to investigate crimes. Does it uncover the truth?," 8 Apr. 2020 She was allowed no contact with her family until a sympathetic guard helped her call her mother—who had been phoning the prison daily, looking for her daughter. Justine Van Der Leun, The New Republic, "Death of a Survivor," 3 May 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

22 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Guard.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 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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