\ 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 He was drafted by Miami but played all 16 games for the Packers from 1993-95 at offensive guard, right on the precipice of a Super Bowl breakthrough. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Sports Illustrated identified the best players at all 259 NFL draft spots. These 20 Packers made the list.," 10 May 2021 Alex Caruso had eight points and seven assists in his second start of the season at guard. ... Beth Harris, ajc, "Clippers rout Lakers 118-94, move into No. 3 spot in West," 7 May 2021 Rachel Banham would be the first guard off the bench, Natalie Achonwa the first post player. Kent Youngblood, Star Tribune, "Lynx return to Target Center for first time since September 2019," 7 May 2021 The Ravens could go with second-year player Tyre Phillips at right tackle, but the former third-round pick out of Mississippi State has more experience at guard. Mike Preston,, "Mike Preston: Ravens offensive line will take time to build, even with pieces in place | COMMENTARY," 4 May 2021 Jenkins made 26 starts at right tackle over four seasons at Oklahoma State, seven at left tackle and two at right guard. Brad Biggs,, "Chicago Bears will release Charles Leno. Will 2nd-round pick Teven Jenkins play left tackle now?," 3 May 2021 Redshirt freshman Dontaie Allen, a 3-point shooting specialist, is the only other scholarship guard remaining on Kentucky's roster from last season. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "What Davion Mintz's declaring for NBA draft means for Kentucky basketball roster," 3 May 2021 As a result, Carman’s path to immediate playing time could come at guard. Charlie Goldsmith, The Enquirer, "Three things to know about Cincinnati Bengals second round pick Jackson Carman," 1 May 2021 Justin Dedich could push Jimmons or Vorhees at guard, if given the chance. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, "15 takeaways from USC spring football practices," 1 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In clinical trials, some of the vaccines lost efficacy against B.1.351, though certain trials also showed the immunizations could provide enough protection to generally guard against severe disease. Andrew Joseph, STAT, "Vaccines seem to work well against coronavirus variants. It’s also complicated," 14 May 2021 Liam Eichenberg, Miami’s second-round pick, for playing time and roles at offensive tackle since the tentative plan is to move Robert Hunt inside to guard. Omar Kelly,, "Miami Dolphins sign both seventh-round draft picks," 13 May 2021 For the Cowboys, what makes Neal especially enticing is his capability to slide to guard. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: 10 prospects Cowboys fans should know for the 2022 NFL draft," 10 May 2021 Ioneer chairman James Calaway said his company will transfer some of the remaining plants to a different area nearby, where they will be protected, including barriers to guard against rodent attacks. Matt Mcfarland, CNN, "America's electric cars need lithium so badly it may wipe out this species," 10 May 2021 Now is the time to guard against advice that ignores that wisdom. Jason Zweig, WSJ, "Want to Get Rich Quick? Who Can Stop You?," 7 May 2021 However, after a move inside to guard, his season was cut short due to a medical issue. Tom Green |, al, "Former Auburn, Florida A&M lineman Calvin Ashley signs with Tampa Bay after going undrafted," 2 May 2021 On the other hand, experts say masking, particularly indoors, is among the easiest and most effective ways to guard against COVID-19 transmission. Alex Putterman,, "Courant readers had questions about masks mandates and Connecticut’s COVID-19 reopening. We’ve got the answers.," 28 Apr. 2021 This requires the same public health tools that guard against the spread of the original virus: masking, social distancing and vaccinating when eligible. Angie Leventis Lourgos,, "Inside Rush’s new advanced molecular lab, where scientists are tracking and tracing COVID-19 variants," 21 Apr. 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

15 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Guard.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 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.

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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