\ 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


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

An undrafted rookie, Calhoun started at right guard throughout the preseason and is listed as the starter at that position on Miami's depth chart. Mark Inabinett |, al, "State NFL Roundup: Philip Rivers, Chargers open with OT victory," 9 Sep. 2019 The two lead guards were joined by a pair of wings in 2018 and 2019, with San Antonio selecting Miami’s Lonnie Walker and Kentucky’s Keldon Johnson in the first round. Michael Shapiro,, "Dejounte Murray And Derrick White Hold the Keys to Spurs' Future," 6 Sep. 2019 The couple overpowered the two guards, tied them up and put them in the back of the van with a third uninvolved prisoner. CBS News, "New photos show married murder suspects who escaped prison van," 2 Sep. 2019 During transport, the couple overpowered two security guards Monday and abandoned the vehicle. Mike Cruz, azcentral, "U.S. Marshals: New photos released of escaped Tucson murder suspects," 31 Aug. 2019 Citing Miami’s offensive-line issues, where the Dolphins are starting two rookie guards and Jesse Davis is learning a new position at right tackle, the player is concerned greatly about preserving Rosen’s confidence. Safid Deen,, "Dolphins players, like coach Brian Flores, see positives on both sides of Fitzpatrick-Rosen QB battle," 28 Aug. 2019 The two guards aren't talking to investigators and have hired lawyers, people briefed on the matter have told CNN. Dakin Andone, CNN, "Jeffrey Epstein's cause of death was suicide by hanging, medical examiner says," 16 Aug. 2019 He was supposed to have been housed with a cellmate and to have been monitored every half-hour by the two guards who patrolled the wing. Ali Watkins, New York Times, "Jeffrey Epstein Autopsy Results Show He Hanged Himself in Suicide," 16 Aug. 2019 On Tuesday, the Department of Justice announced that two MCC guards on duty when Epstein was found dead have been placed on leave. Ryan Parker, The Hollywood Reporter, "Jeffrey Epstein's Neck Broken In Multiple Places, Autopsy Finds," 15 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The service is not free, of course. Storing gold is costly and Paxos will be paying Brinks to guard the gold in its London vault—a cost that must be passed on to Paxos customers. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Crypto or Gold? Paxos Offers Both With First Gold-Backed Token," 5 Sep. 2019 His physical tools give him a ton of potential defensively and the versatility to guard multiple positions. Emily Caron,, "Kentucky Counting on Kahlil Whitney to Make His Mark on Both Ends," 3 Sep. 2019 To guard the identity of the person who was given the original memo, a new character was invented. Rick Bentley,, "Katharine Gun speaks out for ‘Official Secrets’," 29 Aug. 2019 Devey began training camp working primarily at center and switched to guard after Jackson’s injury. Matt Kawahara,, "Raiders’ Jordan Devey prepares for potential Week 1 start at guard," 25 Aug. 2019 American Dream is hiring both full-time and part-time lifeguards to guard the massive indoor water park that will be the largest indoor water park in the Western Hemisphere, and the second-largest in the entire world. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "New Jersey's Enormous American Dream Shopping Center Needs to Hire 300 Lifeguards ASAP," 22 Aug. 2019 The Bengals are even contemplating moving Billy Price to guard. Tyler Dragon,, "Guard Christian Westerman returns to Cincinnati Bengals," 21 Aug. 2019 More than 50 years on from the mass evictions that drove anyone who wasn’t white from the city center, the South African National Defence Force has moved in to guard the areas known collectively as the Cape Flats. Don Pinnock, Quartz Africa, "Cape Town’s bloody gang violence is deeply rooted in its racist history," 16 Aug. 2019 Beavers, the 49ers’ heaviest lineman at 324 pounds, later moved to guard and did little to alleviate concerns about the line’s depth. Cam Inman, The Mercury News, "49ers vs. Cowboys: Three studs, three duds," 11 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for guard

Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

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 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

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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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