\ 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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Video shared on social media shows a man wearing khaki pants, a sports jacket, black gloves and a flat cap, in a seeming attempt to blend in, carrying out the break-in as others, similarly dressed, at least one armed, stand guard. Claire Parker, Washington Post, 28 June 2022 The guard, who has not been publicly identified, was wearing a bulletproof vest and so was uninjured. oregonlive, 27 June 2022 On the gridiron, tackle football player Lelatasiosamoa Vaeao is a USA All-Star who has played offensive guard, defensive tackle and nose tackle in games around the world. San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 June 2022 On March 22, Rosen deposes a representative from the overnight lobby guard’s employer, Securitas, the second biggest security company on Earth. Matt Sullivan, Rolling Stone, 23 June 2022 At the very least, Indiana will get a big, stout defensive guard with a high IQ. Scott Horner, The Indianapolis Star, 22 June 2022 So of course the Kings take another combo guard, albeit one with promising explosion and quickness. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 21 June 2022 Miller, a 6-foot-3, 176-pound guard, began his college career at Tennessee State in 2021, but a hip injury ended his freshman season after just six games. Brooks Holton, The Courier-Journal, 21 June 2022 Not the guard but a producer who remembered him from the Sons of the Pioneers and told him to get his guitar. Jeff Suess, The Enquirer, 19 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Miller said Davenport is fully aware of Sampson's words and how teams will try to guard him going forward. Keith Jenkins, The Enquirer, 13 May 2022 Petit-Frere flipped to left tackle, nudging Munford one spot over to guard. Nathan Baird, cleveland, 29 Apr. 2022 Short arms are often the first reason a lineman moves inside to guard, unless that player is able to compensate with excellent feet and technique in his drop. Nate Atkins, The Indianapolis Star, 27 Apr. 2022 Fluker started 59 games over four seasons for the Chargers but found most of his success after moving inside to guard. Jeff Miller, Los Angeles Times, 25 Apr. 2022 Ekwonu can start at tackle or guard as a rookie and be the long-term answer at left tackle. Stephanie Stradley, Chron, 22 Apr. 2022 In my estimation, Penning competes right away to start at right tackle, allowing Pro Bowler Elgton Jenkins to slide back inside to guard and contend for All-Pro honors. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 20 Apr. 2022 The state had assigned two agents to guard him, but Zeta’s staff didn’t trust them. San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Apr. 2022 The 6-foot-6, 327-pound sixth-year senior moved to right guard this spring in anticipation of a permanent position change this fall. oregonlive, 12 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near guard



guard's van

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Statistics for guard

Last Updated

2 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Guard.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for guard


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on guard

Nglish: Translation of guard for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of guard for Arabic Speakers


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