\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

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

Unbreakable tells the story of a security guard named David Dunn (Bruce Willis). Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "New TV spot for Glass will make you want to believe in super powers," 18 Nov. 2018 The shed, with views of the mountains, has guards to retain snow on the roof as insulation in the winter. Nancy Keates, WSJ, "A Modern Second-Home Retreat for Seattle’s Tech Elite," 19 Sep. 2018 Just two destroyers on duty can protect most of the country, and until recently, two destroyers at sea were on guard at all times. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Japanese Destroyer Just Shot Down a Simulated Ballistic Missile," 18 Sep. 2018 Immigration is an economic issue and it won't be solved by having more armed guards at the front door. Fox News, "Ken Starr: Impeachment is hell," 11 Sep. 2018 The Huskies relied heavily on sophomore guard Amber Melgoza who averaged 19.0 points and ranked second in the conference in scoring. Percy Allen, The Seattle Times, "No quick fix: UW women’s basketball coach Jody Wynn focuses on daily progress," 31 July 2018 The three schools have four crossing guards each, according to the transportation commission. Kathy Routliffe,, "Romona School parents ask Wilmette for Locust Road crossing guard," 12 July 2018 On the day of the uprising, Profaci says Charlie Building, where Floyd was attacked, had four guards for 127 inmates. CBS News, "Deadly uprising at Delaware prison highlights widespread understaffing problem," 7 July 2018 Yet between Rondo, Stephenson, and Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles now has three ball-dominant guards without the shooting ability to keep defenses honest. Rob Mahoney,, "Grades: Rajon Rondo Presents a Curious Fit For LeBron and Lakers," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Toy makers closely guard their squishy-toy formulations, which are usually variations of polyurethane. Ellen Byron, WSJ, "This Year’s Holiday Toy Craze Involves a Lot of Squishing," 13 Nov. 2018 Iraqi security forces guard the main gate of Baghdad’s International Fair where ballot boxes are piled up inside a hall ahead of a recount, in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, July 9, 2018. Washington Post, "Iraq expands manual recount to 7 provinces," 9 July 2018 Like the performers who visited us that morning, the molfars of the western mountains guard the traditions of their nation from erasure. Linda Kinstler, Longreads, "Angrily Experiencing the Best Days of Our Lives," 27 June 2018 In a residential section of Harlingen, Texas, a man in a gold pickup truck guarded the front gate of a shelter for young children run under a federal contract by Southwest Key. Author: Maria Sacchetti, Kevin Sieff, Marc Fisher, Anchorage Daily News, "Separated migrant children are all over the country," 25 June 2018 With Dwyane Wade among the finalists, Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea on Wednesday was named winner of the 2018 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award. Ira Winderman,, "Josh Richardson offers his stance on role, contract, LeBron, Heat outlook," 13 June 2018 The specialist officers guard military assets such as the Trident nuclear warheads, the warship HMS Queen Elizabeth as well as the armed forces. Kitty Donaldson,, "Defense Police Cuts Put U.K. Nuclear Arsenal at Risk, Chief Says," 13 June 2018 Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has been named First Team All-NBA as All-NBA teams were announced Thursday by the league. Tim Brown,, "Damian Lillard named 1st Team All-NBA," 24 May 2018 Your faculty members guard that mission fiercely, and with good reason. Nestor Ramos,, "What kind of candidate for chancellor would turn up at UMass Boston now? This guy," 23 May 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

19 Dec 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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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

What made you want to look up guard? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a knickknack or trinket

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