watch

verb
\ 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

watch

noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of watch in a Sentence

Verb

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.

Noun

He glanced at his watch. When you're driving in winter you should always be on the watch for ice on the roads.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

There's a confidence that comes with watching other people doing it day to day and learning from them. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Caitriona Balfe Is Evolving with Outlander," 31 Dec. 2018 Timing market tops based on watching for investor exuberance worked, too. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "My Lessons From the Market’s Wild December," 27 Dec. 2018 But the program dedicated to watching America’s national symbol was stymied this weekend by the partial shutdown of the federal government — the third so far this year. Joseph O’sullivan, The Seattle Times, "Bald-eagle watching canceled, TSA employees at Sea-Tac Airport working on delayed pay. Federal government closure hits Washington," 24 Dec. 2018 The most wonderful time of the year isn't complete without watching Charlie Brown and his gang celebrate Christmas! Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Mark Your Calendars! A Charlie Brown Christmas Will Air Tonight," 6 Dec. 2018 As the show draws to a close, the artists regroup in a press room where some of them change into slippers before huddling together to watch the final performances. Alisa Wolfson, Country Living, "'The Voice' Behind-the-Scenes Secrets That No One Ever Knew," 15 Dec. 2018 No, Intel hasn't watched too much This is Spinal Tap. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Surprise! Intel reveals 10nm Sunny Cove CPU cores that go deeper, wider, and faster," 12 Dec. 2018 Streaming content on your TV is the new normal—in fact, plenty of people don't even have cable subscriptions anymore, in favor of sticking with platforms like Netflix and Hulu to watch all their favorite shows and videos. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "The Ultimate Guide To TV Streaming Devices, From Apple TV To Roku," 6 Dec. 2018 For an Arctic adventure, there’s Manshausen Island Resort or Lyngen Lodge, an eight-room property with dramatic mountain and sea views and its own boat for whale watching and ferrying hikers, bikers, and skiers to parts (almost) unknown. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "The Best Places to Travel in 2019," 7 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The drone will also help detect any other unmanned vehicles in the air that aren’t authorized to fly, in addition to the cameras and police helicopters that usually keep watch. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "New York City cops will fly a drone over the New Year’s Eve celebration at Times Square," 30 Dec. 2018 And Trump wants his biggest conservative allies in the House to keep watch. Tara Golshan, Vox, "How a small, Trumpy group of House Republicans wants to keep a check on Democrats," 29 Nov. 2018 My mother, meanwhile, was still keeping watch over the children, who were thrilled to spend time with their Nana. Jason Gay, WSJ, "Refund Madness! Tiger & Phil’s Vegas Bogey," 25 Nov. 2018 Just to be safe, Taylor kept a close watch on O.G. and fed him boiled chicken and rice. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "6-Year-Old Dog Dies From Saltwater Poisoning After a Playful Day at the Beach," 20 July 2018 Deeper in the chamber, four SEALs kept watch on the boys as their comrades ferried in field rations and water. Shibani Mahtani, Washington Post, "‘Time is running out’: Inside the treacherous rescue of boys trapped in a Thai cave," 13 July 2018 Ahead of her meeting with the Trumps at Windsor Castle today, her Majesty was seen checking her watch before her guests’ arrival, royal reporter Patricia Treble pointed out on Twitter. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Queen Checking Her Watch While Waiting for Donald Trump Is a True Mood," 13 July 2018 That’s because Italy keeps a pretty close watch on citizens, requiring them to register with their town of residence each year. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Study Suggests There’s No Limit on Longevity, But Getting Super Old Is Still Tough," 29 June 2018 For some areas along the river, including the Fox Valley Park District, conditions had improved and parks that had experienced flooding last week reopened, but officials kept watch on the skies Tuesday. Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, "Rain keeps Fox River towns on alert," 26 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.

See More

First Known Use of watch

Verb

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

Noun

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

History and Etymology for watch

Verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about watch

Statistics for watch

Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for watch

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for watch

watch

verb

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

watch

noun

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

watch

verb
\ 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

watch

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about watch

Comments on watch

What made you want to look up watch? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

someone who never drinks alcohol

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!