\ 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 The researchers could split their original brick in half, add extra sand, hydrogel, and nutrients, and watch as bacteria grew two full-size bricks in 6 hours. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "From 'living' cement to medicine-delivering biofilms, biologists remake the material world," 18 Feb. 2020 Along with a plethora of TVs for watching games, Griff's served smoked boneless wings, burgers, pizzas, pastas, chicken and waffles and baby back ribs. Dahlia Ghabour, The Courier-Journal, "Downtown Louisville sports bar abruptly closes," 18 Feb. 2020 At the Smithsonian’s annual Mother Tongue Film Festival, watch fascinating stories told in languages and dialects from all over the world — such as Ainu, spoken in parts of Japan, or Diné, spoken by Navajo Indians. Washington Post, "13 things to do in the D.C. area this week," 18 Feb. 2020 Anyone who's ever watched American Idol knows there's plenty of hilariousness to go around between judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'American Idol' Judge Luke Bryan Reveals What Really Goes on Behind the Scenes of the Show," 17 Feb. 2020 Fish raised his family here, taking particular pride watching his children, Maria and Chapin, play soccer. oregonlive, "‘It was his joy’: Hundreds gather to celebrate life of public servant, Portland Commissioner Nick Fish," 17 Feb. 2020 About 100,000 people are expected to attend this year's race and millions more will watch on television. Fox News, "Trump to rev up Daytona 500 with historic lap in presidential limo, ‘The Beast’," 16 Feb. 2020 The best way to learn is by doing and practicing, not just by watching. Harry Guinness, Popular Science, "How to learn new skills online," 13 Feb. 2020 Here on the right side of the aisle, there’s not a heck of a lot to do but watch. Robert Verbruggen, National Review, "Is There a Democrat for Anti-Trump Conservatives?," 13 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That, too, was not lost on people at the watch party, held inside a D.C. bookstore that often serves as a backdrop for political events and book readings. NBC News, "To many black voters, Trump's outreach is more showmanship than substance," 6 Feb. 2020 Former vice president Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and billionaire activist Tom Steyer held their watch parties in another part of town. Washington Post, "The debate watch parties of Democratic campaigns: A detailed comparison," 3 Feb. 2020 Back in San Antonio, a daughter, MaryAnn Ayala, hosted a watch party at her home for family and friends. Sig Christenson,, "San Antonio veteran, 100, honored at Super Bowl coin toss," 3 Feb. 2020 Community members will be getting together at a local restaurant Sunday for a watch party. Fox News, "Super Bowl LIV: Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes gets support 1,000 miles away from Miami," 1 Feb. 2020 So son Garrett McAleese, who founded Kells Brewery in 2012, is throwing a watch party, complete with the pub’s cozy fireplace and couches vibe, two projectors and the bar TVs showing the game – and some nacho food specials. oregonlive, "Where to watch the 2020 Super Bowl in Portland? Try these 10 brewpubs," 28 Jan. 2020 At the time, Sanders donated to the state party but hosted a competing watch party close to the main event. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "'People will sit at home': Sanders supporters threaten to boycott vote if Democrats pick a centrist," 17 Jan. 2020 Just try not to follow the trend of Hustlers and Knives Out — no one wants a puker at their watch party. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "Raise a glass with the ultimate Golden Globes 2020 drinking game — if you dare," 4 Jan. 2020 Michael Pohorily brought his five-ton armored truck to the watch party and let kids climb in it and honk its loud horn. Savannah Mehrtens, Houston Chronicle, "2020 vision: Top stories of 2019 and what to expect in the next year," 31 Dec. 2019

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

21 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Watch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 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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