\ ˈwäch , ˈwȯch \
watched; watching; watches

Definition of watch 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to keep vigil as a devotional exercise

b : to be awake during the night

2a : to be attentive or vigilant

b : to keep guard

3a : to keep someone or something under close observation

b : to observe as a spectator the country watched as stocks fell sharply

4 : to be expectant : wait watch for the signal

transitive verb

1 : to keep under guard

2a : to observe closely in order to check on action or change being watched by the police

b : to look at : observe sat and watched the crowd

c : to look on at watch television watch a ball game

3a : to take care of : tend

b : to be careful of watches his diet

4 : to be on the alert for : bide watched her opportunity

watch it

: look out : be careful watch it when you handle the glassware

watch one's step

: to proceed with extreme care : act or talk warily

watch over

: to have charge of : superintend



Definition of watch (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : the act of keeping awake to guard, protect, or attend

b obsolete : the state of being wakeful

c : a wake over a dead body

d : a state of alert and continuous attention

e : close observation : surveillance

f : a notice or bulletin that alerts the public to the possibility of severe weather conditions occurring in the near future a winter storm watch

2a : any of the definite divisions of the night made by ancient peoples

b : one of the indeterminate intervals marking the passage of night usually used in plural the silent watches of the night

3a : lookout, watchman

b archaic : the office or function of a sentinel or guard

4a : a body of soldiers or sentinels making up a guard

b : a watchman or body of watchmen formerly assigned to patrol the streets of a town at night, announce the hours, and act as police

5a(1) : a portion of time during which a part of a ship's company is on duty

(2) : the part of a ship's company required to be on duty during a particular watch

(3) : a sailor's assigned duty period

b : a period of duty : shift

c : a term as holder especially of an overseeing or managerial office the business grew on her watch

6 : a portable timepiece designed to be worn (as on the wrist) or carried in the pocket — compare clock

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Synonyms & Antonyms for watch

Synonyms: Verb

follow, heed, listen (to), mind, note, observe, regard

Synonyms: Noun

alert, alertness, attentiveness, vigilance, watchfulness

Antonyms: Verb

disregard, ignore, tune out

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Examples of watch in a Sentence


They have a rookie on the team who is fun to watch. I fell asleep watching television. What movie are you watching? “Mom, watch me do a cartwheel!” She sat and watched the children play. “Would you like to play, too?” “No, I'll just watch.” Just sit back and watch. Keep watching to see what happens next. “What happens next?” “Watch and see.” People are watching this presidential race very carefully.


He glanced at his watch. When you're driving in winter you should always be on the watch for ice on the roads.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Mexico, for example, is likely watching the China trade war closely, said political economist and Wharton professor Mauro Guillen. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Trade wars are damaging, so why is Trump fighting one with China?," 13 July 2018 That's all good news for Nickelberry, who watched his teammates' interviews with a smile. Jeff Greer, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville pledge Josh Nickelberry recruiting teammates for Cards," 13 July 2018 Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan have been pragmatists on the Court, as anyone who watched their confirmation hearings would have predicted. Jeffrey Rosen, WSJ, "What We Learn from Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings," 13 July 2018 Liz had been watching the whole race from the pit, chewing on a water bottle to calm herself. Chapel Fowler, charlotteobserver, "In 2008, Will Power didn’t have a ride. He’s now the first N.C.-based Indy 500 winner.," 12 July 2018 The soaking wet woman, Cynthia Strunk, 67, and her husband, Shannon, 53, had been watching the wedding preparations from their beachfront home all morning. Hannah Natanson,, "A storm was ruining this beach wedding. Then a total stranger made the bride an offer," 12 July 2018 The soaking wet woman, Cynthia Strunk, 67, and her husband, Shannon, 53, had been watching the wedding preparations from their beachfront home all morning. Hannah Natanson, Washington Post, "A storm was ruining this beach wedding. Then a total stranger made the bride an offer.," 12 July 2018 Foster care home gives permanence and hope to young girl who watched her parents struggle with addiction. Keith Bierygolick,, "Addicted, abused and unable to count: a federal lawsuit about damaged kids in Warren County," 12 July 2018 Tempe police reported that the safety driver had been watching The Voice on her phone at the time of the crash. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Uber laid off its self-driving car safety drivers in Pittsburgh," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Highlanders have placed third in the Sentinel’s Varsity Cup all-sports standings in each of the past three school years and were Varsity Cup champions in 2001-02 and 2014-15 under Prendergast’s watch. Buddy Collings,, "Schreiber returns to Lake Highland Prep as new A.D.," 3 July 2018 Five inmates died between January and July of that year, including 46-year-old John Everitt, who managed to hang himself with a bedsheet despite being on suicide watch in an observation cell. Chad Sokol, The Seattle Times, "Spokane County Jail removing bedsheets, hiring suicide-prevention expert after 3 inmates hang themselves in a year," 1 July 2018 The Capitals defense has been steadily improving under Reirden’s watch. Katherine Fominykh,, "Five things to know about Todd Reirden, the next Capitals head coach," 30 June 2018 Under Bosio’s watch, the Tigers’ inexperienced pitching staff has enjoyed more success than expected. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers' Daniel Stumpf's nickname at root of Chris Bosio firing," 28 June 2018 Under Beck’s watch, crime remains at historic lows despite an uptick in the last few years, even as homelessness and mental illness pose growing challenges for police officers. Cindy Chang,, "Retiring after more than 40 years, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has evolved with the department he leads," 24 June 2018 Under Krzanich’s watch, Intel has struggled to produce 10-nanometer chips, and competitors like AMD have caught up with its Zen architecture for Ryzen and EPYC processors. Tom Warren, The Verge, "Intel now faces a fight for its future," 22 June 2018 The suit also claims that under The Management Group’s watch, Depp’s sister Christi was given $7 million and Depp’s assistant $750,000 without his knowledge. Connor Whittum, Billboard, "10 Things We Learned From Johnny Depp's Revealing 'Rolling Stone' Interview," 22 June 2018 The park district added more than 15 parks during Curran’s watch, and many of those were possible because of the village’s housing and population boom as developers were required to set aside land for park development. Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, "Former parks director named Tinley Park trustee," 21 June 2018

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for watch


Middle English wacchen, from Old English wæccan — more at wake

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Statistics for watch

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for watch

The first known use of watch was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for watch



English Language Learners Definition of watch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to look at (someone or something) for an amount of time and pay attention to what is happening

: to give your attention to (a situation, an event, etc.)

: to care for (someone or something) for a period of time in order to make sure that nothing bad or unwanted happens



English Language Learners Definition of watch (Entry 2 of 2)

: a device that shows what time it is and that you wear on your wrist or carry in a pocket

: the act of giving your attention to someone or something especially in order to make sure that nothing bad or unwanted happens

: the act of looking for someone or something that you expect to see : the act of regularly checking to see if someone has arrived or if something has appeared or happened


\ ˈwäch \
watched; watching

Kids Definition of watch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to keep in view Did you watch the game?

2 : to be on the lookout I'm watching for a signal.

3 : to take care of : tend Watch the house until I get back.

4 : to be careful of Watch your step.

5 : to keep guard Watch outside the door.

6 : to stay awake She watched at the sick child's bedside.

watch out

: to be aware of and ready for Remember to watch out for broken glass.

Other words from watch

watcher noun



Kids Definition of watch (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a small timepiece worn on the wrist or carried

2 : close observation

4 : the time during which someone is on duty to guard or be on the lookout

5 : an act of keeping awake to guard or protect

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More from Merriam-Webster on watch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for watch

Spanish Central: Translation of watch

Nglish: Translation of watch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of watch for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about watch

Comments on watch

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an open space surrounded by woods

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