\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, qui vive, red alert, 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

Her grandparents, Monáe tells me, passed down the tales from their ancestors about watching slaves escape during Bleeding Kansas, a series of violent clashes in the lead-up to the Civil War. Sean Knight, Glamour, "Janelle Monáe Knows She Has Your Attention. Get Ready for What's Next.," 5 Nov. 2018 And later this month, we'll be glued to our sectionals watching her next project, Dirty John. Lindsey Benoit O'connell, Redbook, "Connie Britton Shares Her Rules for a Totally Chill Holiday Season," 29 Oct. 2018 Original story: It's been more than 14 years since a spacecraft launched toward Mercury, so don't miss your chance to watch a rocket do just that. Meghan Bartels,, "BepiColombo, the First Mercury Mission in 14 Years, Launches Tonight — Watch Live!," 19 Oct. 2018 After watching all of the celebrity arrivals, Willemen and her son listened to the ceremony through a loud speaker. Rose Minutaglio, Town & Country, "A Guest at Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank's Wedding Reveals What You Didn't See On Camera," 12 Oct. 2018 In 2016, after almost a decade of watching pedestrian deaths increase, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) launched its first investigative report dedicated to pedestrian safety. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Better car design could prevent pedestrian deaths, says NTSB report," 27 Sep. 2018 Paul Bradshaw, a journalism professor from Birmingham, England, was watching last month’s England versus Belgium game in a London pub. NBC News, "Fans howl over taking down World Cup Twitter posts for copyright issues," 14 July 2018 More on foundation shade ranges: Now watch Cardi B's makeup artist break down some of her best looks: Follow Marci on Instagram and Twitter, or subscribe to Allure's newsletter for daily beauty stories delivered right to your inbox. Marci Robin, Allure, "Misty Copeland Helps Estée Lauder Announce the Shade Expansion of Double Wear Stay-In-Place Makeup," 14 July 2018 Across the street, Kwandibens is standing with her face titled upward, watching as her art fills the billboard. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Unprecedented Billboard Campaign Puts Spotlight on Indigenous Artists in Canada," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Chinese consumers account for roughly half of the Swiss watch industry’s global revenue. Matthew Dalton, WSJ, "Cartier Owner Struggles With a Glut of Fancy Watches," 9 Nov. 2018 Instead of going the typical startup route—launching a brand, quickly taking on investors, and eventually scaling too fast—the company has adopted a watch-and-wait approach. Diana Budds, Curbed, "Is America ready for Denmark’s coolest design brand?," 1 Nov. 2018 This ladies’ sports watch is made of matte black ceramic with red gold accents and a sharp-​looking diamond set into the crown. Cara Barrett And Stephen Pulvirent | Hodinkee, ELLE Decor, "This Matte Black Ceramic Watch Is the Epitome of Sporty Elegance," 22 Oct. 2018 Set your watch by the club-goers lining up from Hollywood to Highland Park. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "Loud, Crowded, Grease-Stained, and Gloriously Drunk: Where the World Eats After Hours," 8 Oct. 2018 The timekeepers displayed in the photo aren't just your ordinary watches either. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin Showed off Matching Diamond Watches," 14 July 2018 His watch was in the kitchen drawer, next to his wallet and keys. Liz Arnold, Longreads, "Making Peace with the Site of a Suicide," 11 July 2018 Authorities said Browner physically harmed the woman, who was not named, and threatened to kill her before taking off with her $20,000 Rolex watch. Alene Tchekmedyian,, "Former NFL player Brandon Browner arrested on suspicion of breaking into woman's home," 9 July 2018 Police revealed Ngor gave up his Rolex watch to the thieves but refused to hand over a gold locket with a picture of his late wife. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Murder of 'Killing Fields' star Haing Ngor still haunts detective: 'I didn’t have any answers'," 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.

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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

14 Nov 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

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


a private place of worship

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