\ 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 pluralthe 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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Jamie Norman normally works in scouting, but on this night was there to watch his son Myles, an outfielder for the Gherkins. oregonlive, "Wild Wild West League opening night brings live team sports back to Oregon," 12 July 2020 Hospital staff live-streamed the event so family and friends could watch it. Claire Goodman, Houston Chronicle, "COVID-19 nurse ties the knot in hospital wedding," 11 July 2020 Mom, grandma, everyone wanted to watch it together. James Hibberd,, "Dukes of Hazzard stars defend Confederate flag-covered General Lee: 'The car is innocent'," 10 July 2020 Mom, grandma, everyone wanted to watch it together. Benjamin Vanhoose,, "Original Dukes of Hazzard Stars React to Confederate Flag Controversy: 'The Car Is Innocent'," 9 July 2020 Randazzo said not to try to trap or corner Georgie, but to watch him and stay a safe distance until animal control authorities can arrive to scoop him up. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Authorities search for dwarf alligator on the loose in Clinton Township," 7 July 2020 His behavior has included staring, honking, catcalling, turning around to follow them and parking to watch them. Bob Sandrick, cleveland, "Berea man may face criminal charges for stalking two Baldwin Wallace University athletes," 2 July 2020 The event was closed to the public because of the coronavirus, but viewers could watch it on the district’s Facebook page. al, "Former Birmingham superintendent takes reins of Atlanta schools," 1 July 2020 Here are all the details about the event, including how to watch it and who’s going to be there. Christi Carras Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Mj Rodriguez, Billy Porter and Indya Moore unite for ‘Pose-A-Thon’ benefit," 26 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun These young men, who are members of Monell Engine Company and JROTC, have stood guard all day through the elements and will keep watch of the 9-11 Memorial around the clock tonight after last nights desecration. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Reward offered after vandals cut down American flag from 9/11 memorial in New York village," 9 July 2020 The letter recommended that officials keep a close watch on COVID-19 hospitalizations and post a warning indicator on the city website whenever the numbers increase for five days in a row. Brian Chasnoff,, "‘When we’re full, we’re full’: COVID-19 pushes San Antonio hospitals to the limit," 5 July 2020 And if the weather gets worse, then issuing a watch or warning. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin is alerted about weather with advisories, watches and warnings -- but do people know the differences, or care?," 30 June 2020 Thao stood watch, dismissing bystanders' concerns that Floyd was dying. Barnini Chakraborty, Fox News, "Four ex-cops linked to George Floyd's death appear in court, judge sets 2021 trial date," 29 June 2020 To keep watch over which extensions are allowed to what in Firefox, choose Add-ons then Extensions from the program menu. David Nield, Wired, "How to Get Safari's New Privacy Features in Chrome and Firefox," 28 June 2020 At Sonoma Fit, a button is pressed, a vibration buzzes on a staffer’s watch, and complete disinfection happens within seconds. Rusty Simmons,, "The future of fitness is leaving Bay Area gym owners a lot of details to sweat," 27 June 2020 Each user can authorize a watch as well as their phone. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Now your iPhone can control your car, monitor teen drivers' behavior," 27 June 2020 At a corner of the park, a set of D.C. police officers also stood watch. Hannah Natanson, Washington Post, "Protesters denounce Abraham Lincoln statue in D.C., urge removal of Emancipation Memorial," 25 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for watch

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for watch

Last Updated

1 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Watch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for watch


How to pronounce watch (audio)

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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