sen·​ti·​nel | \ ˈsent-nəl How to pronounce sentinel (audio) , ˈsen-tə-nəl \

Definition of sentinel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: sentry


sentineled or sentinelled; sentineling or sentinelling

Definition of sentinel (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to watch over as a sentinel
2 : to furnish with a sentinel
3 : to post as sentinel

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Examples of sentinel in a Sentence

Noun a lone sentinel kept watch over the fort
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The palace, though scarred, was one of the few still standing, a refuge, a sentinel in a town that, like many others, had hoped cruelty would not visit and fresh graves would not be dug. Nabih Bulosstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 21 Apr. 2022 Two enormous palm trees stand sentinel on either end of the pool, bare and brown. Justin Torres, Los Angeles Times, 15 Dec. 2021 To my back was an outrageous view of the Sphinx, a massive granite sentinel that towers ominously over the entire valley. Emily Pennington, Outside Online, 24 Feb. 2021 Today, its imposing black walls and gray, tiered roofs stand sentinel over a bottle-green perimeter moat in the heart of Matsue's old quarter. CNN, 19 Jan. 2022 Like a sentinel, the church has witnessed the evolution of its community from atop a hill. Syra Ortiz- Blanes,, 22 Nov. 2021 Rugged landscapes split by sharp mountains and dotted with scraggly brush, and the sentinel of the desert. Kaely Monahan, The Arizona Republic, 16 Nov. 2021 There, a half-mile trail opens to a stunning panorama, with a chimney rock standing sentinel over a lush green V of a canyon. Washington Post, 24 Sep. 2021 Climate conditions are bad at Mt. Shasta, a 14,179-foot sentinel standing watch over Northern California. Los Angeles Times, 9 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb However, on the wall there is only an enormous and exceedingly bad painting, in a heavy wooden frame, done primarily in weary shades of brown, depicting a Tuscan landscape with dim saints and sentinel cypresses and an unidentifiable bird on a bough. John Banville, The New York Review of Books, 6 Apr. 2022 This clinical strategy relies both on infected individuals coming to sentinel hospitals and medical authorities who are influential and persistent enough to raise the alarm. Maureen Miller, The Conversation, 1 June 2021 Expanding Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sentinel surveillance programs and other surveillance programs to offer tests not only to those who ask but also to those who may not know to ask is also on Biden's Plan to Combat Coronavirus. USA Today, 2 Nov. 2020 And there are certain types of events or sentinel events that require a deeper dive before continuing to ensure the safety of current and future participants. Adrian Hernandez, STAT, 14 Oct. 2020 Auburn continues to rely on self-reporting and sentinel testing to keep track of its numbers. Giana Han, al, 22 Sep. 2020 It has been guarded every hour of every day since 1937 by elite Tomb Guard sentinels. Jesse Ryan, USA TODAY, 29 May 2017 When Chinese leaders gaze out toward the Pacific, their panorama is obstructed by a string of military airfields, naval anchorages, radar emplacements and listening posts sentineled by U.S. forces and their allies. Andrew Browne, WSJ, 14 Mar. 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sentinel.' 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 sentinel


1579, in the meaning defined above


1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sentinel


Middle French sentinelle, from Old Italian sentinella, from sentina vigilance, from sentire to perceive, from Latin

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Time Traveler for sentinel

Time Traveler

The first known use of sentinel was in 1579

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Dictionary Entries Near sentinel



sentinel crab

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Statistics for sentinel

Last Updated

25 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sentinel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for sentinel


sen·​ti·​nel | \ ˈsen-tə-nəl How to pronounce sentinel (audio) \

Kids Definition of sentinel

: sentry


sen·​ti·​nel | \ ˈsent-ᵊn-əl How to pronounce sentinel (audio) \

Medical Definition of sentinel

: being an individual or part of a population potentially susceptible to an infection or infestation that is being monitored for the appearance or recurrence of the causative pathogen or parasite

More from Merriam-Webster on sentinel

Nglish: Translation of sentinel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sentinel for Arabic Speakers


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