\ 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 Henan province, who gave only his surname out of security fears, said a guard kept watch at his door. Washington Post, "Chinese workers allege forced labor, abuses in Xi’s ‘Belt and Road’ program," 30 Apr. 2021 But building around a small guard is incredibly challenging. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers’ late-season losses pushing them closer to what they need most," 29 Apr. 2021 Banks has an ideal build for a guard, and there’s still room for improvement technically. Jonas Shaffer,, "Dueling Ravens mock drafts: How do you use nine picks? Take a tackle first, then figure the rest out later.," 29 Apr. 2021 Some tenants also complained about security, including residents getting codes to the front door that can be given to anyone and a security guard photographed asleep on a night shift. Mallory Moench, San Francisco Chronicle, "S.F. celebrated turning hotel into permanent homeless housing. But transition has been 'bumpy'," 29 Apr. 2021 Abram, a 5-foot-8 guard, averaged 13 points, 3.8 assists and 2.7 steals per game this past season. Mike Hutton,, "Boys basketball notes: Calumet coach Dominique Nelson resigns, saying it’s ‘time to hit the reset button’," 28 Apr. 2021 Chapman then quits his job at the hospital and takes a job as a security guard. Cnn Editorial Research, CNN, "Mark David Chapman Fast Facts," 28 Apr. 2021 Last June, a school security guard stabbed 39 children and staff at a kindergarten in the same province of Guangxi. Karson Yiu, ABC News, "2 dead, 16 injured in stabbing at kindergarten in southern China," 28 Apr. 2021 Smith, a 6-foot guard who averaged 22.0 points and 6.2 assists as a junior while shooting 45.1% from the 3-point line, had previous offers from IUPUI, Appalachian State, Belmont, Montana, North Texas and Toledo. Kyle Neddenriep, The Indianapolis Star, "Notebook: Lincoln Hale starts recruiting process over, Braden Smith offered by Purdue," 27 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The team is thin on the edges, especially if right tackle Josh Jones is moved inside to guard. Jay Paris, Forbes, "Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft Preview: Cornerback Is The Logical Focus After Loss Of Patrick Peterson," 21 Apr. 2021 Instead, she was called back into the room, and two soldiers were summoned to guard her. Raffi Khatchadourian, The New Yorker, "Surviving the Crackdown in Xinjiang," 5 Apr. 2021 His addition would allow Jonah Williams to move inside to guard. Omar Kelly,, "Omar Kelly’s first-round 2021 NFL mock draft: Who will Dolphins select at picks 6 and 18?," 29 Mar. 2021 Booker can go get his 1-on-1 and on pick-and-roll, but he's been more efficient in the Point-5 offense when ball movement, player movement makes the team tough to guard. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, "Phoenix Suns: Look back at narrow win vs. Toronto, ahead to rematch vs. Hornets," 28 Mar. 2021 But Tucker also brought in transfer tackle Jarrett Horst from Arkansas State, and that could add to the competition, with the flexibility to move Jarvis back inside to guard. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "How Michigan State football's offense plans to go from putrid to productive fast," 27 Mar. 2021 Branham, who scored seven points, asked Joyce after their win to guard him. Matt Goul, cleveland, "St. Vincent-St. Mary can’t miss vs. Lima Shawnee in 71-42 Division II state semifinal win," 20 Mar. 2021 Towns was a problem no matter who the Suns threw out there to guard him as the Wolves overcame an early deficit from the start. Star Tribune, "Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards combine for 83 points to lead Timberwolves over Phoenix," 18 Mar. 2021 Curry is so feared that teams can’t leave him open, but Embiid is so unstoppable that teams can’t guard him with a single human. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "The NBA’s Top Shooter Is Named Curry. No, Not That One.," 25 Feb. 2021

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

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Guard.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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 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

Nglish: Translation of guard for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of guard for Arabic Speakers

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