\ ˈwäch How to pronounce watch (audio) , 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
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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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

Someone on the East Coast of the United States who turned on the television on Saturday morning to watch the women’s final would have seen, instead, the semifinal between Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, "More People Should Know the Name of Ashleigh Barty, the New French Open Champion," 8 June 2019 Two Thai players to watch are 32-year-old forward Kanjana Sungngoen and midfielder Rattikan Thongsombut. Michelle Kaufman, miamiherald, "Getting to know the U.S. Women’s World Cup team’s first opponent: Thailand," 4 June 2019 In a statement, study co-author Martin Danišík of Australia’s Curtin University adds that the group likely arrived in time to watch the final spurts of lava from a safe distance. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Rock Art and Footprints Reveal How Ancient Humans Responded to Volcanic Eruption," 4 June 2019 Tune in to watch her go head to head with the giant fruit in the full video above. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "We Asked the Mad Queen Emilia Clarke to Sing Jazz — and Wow, Her Voice Is Amazing," 15 May 2019 Understandably, Bush Hager got a bit emotional after watching the clip. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Watch George W. Bush Cheer on His Daughter Jenna Bush Hager on Her First Day as a Today Show Co-Host," 9 Apr. 2019 Trucking companies also may be cautious after watching spot market prices for moving goods slide in recent weeks and seeing a series of mixed signals about the broader U.S. economy. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "Heavy-Duty Truck Orders Hit the Brakes in March," 2 Apr. 2019 Models at the Resort 2020 show weren't watching Riverdale, yet, but, two separate screens on a monogrammed Louis Vuitton bag did display colorful images of a cityscape. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Louis Vuitton’s Resort 2020 Collection Includes Purses with Television Screens," 10 May 2019 When not evangelizing about four-door coupes, he can be found watching The Real Housewives with his two cats. Daniel Golson, Car and Driver, "Daniel Golson," 10 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The flawed audits on his watch represented a tiny fraction of the watchdog's oversight of FEMA. Anchorage Daily News, "Homeland Security watchdog retires early after his office was forced to retract ‘feel-good’ audits of disaster response," 10 June 2019 Deer Park fans can set their watches to that schedule. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Abshier Stadium to begin hosting 7-on-7 games this week," 5 June 2019 Associate digital beauty director Sarah Kinonen had several off-center wrist freckles hiding under her Apple watch. Marci Robin, Allure, "The Viral “Wrist Freckle Challenge” Aims to Prove Everyone Has Matching Moles on Their Arms," 30 May 2019 Did Trump forget the Latin American dictatorship — cemented on his watch with a fraudulent election — and all the sanctions his administration has imposed on Venezuela’s leadership? Fabiola Santiago, miamiherald, "Trump is deporting Venezuelans to dictator Nicolás Maduro’s hell. This is why.," 14 June 2018 As rain poured down relentlessly last summer, Ms. Bhide’s team kept an hourly watch as site managers provided live updates via the WhatsApp messaging service. Corinne Abrams, WSJ, "‘You Have to Actually Cut Open Mumbai’s Belly’—Inside One of the World’s Most Audacious Transit Projects," 6 Jan. 2019 The whole thing is chock full of references to The Favourite and the royal family, turning what could have been a standard pop video into a must-watch cultural happening. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "The Jonas Brothers's New Music Video Is Inspired By The Favourite and the Royal Family," 1 Mar. 2019 Check out all the must-watch titles for this week, below. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "10 TV Shows and Movies to Watch This Week Just in Time for Christmas," 23 Dec. 2018 Huda Kattan launched a Facebook Watch television show this summer, Huda Boss, a must-watch for her fans and the inner boss in all of us. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Huda Beauty May Have Just Teased a Brand New Eye Shadow Palette," 17 July 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

13 Jun 2019

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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 How to pronounce watch (audio) \
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

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