watch·​dog | \ ˈwäch-ˌdȯg How to pronounce watchdog (audio) , ˈwȯch-\

Definition of watchdog

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a dog kept to guard property
2 : one that guards against loss, waste, theft, or undesirable practices


watchdogged; watchdogging; watchdogs

Definition of watchdog (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to act as a watchdog for

Examples of watchdog in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Consumer watchdogs and attorneys attempting to take legal action maintain that the tribal affiliation is but a scheme. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "Westland woman had 350% interest rate on $1,200 loan — and a loophole allows it," 12 July 2019 Instead, during the Obama years, watchdogs thwarted growth plans before banks had taken formal actions to seek approval, people with knowledge of the matter say. Michelle F. Davis,, "Trump removed Wall Street’s secret shackles. Now banks are prowling for deals," 11 July 2019 Washington’s fresh concerns over Facebook’s push into financial services comes as lawmakers and consumer watchdogs are ratcheting up their criticism of Silicon Valley. Hamza Shaban, Washington Post, "Bitcoin slides after Fed chair says Facebook’s cryptocurrency raises ‘serious concerns’," 11 July 2019 Legal watchdog First Liberty Institute has joined Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's lawsuit demanding records be made public about the city of San Antonio's decision to ban Chick-fil-A from the airport. Fox News, "Lawsuit against San Antonio seeks hidden records on Chick-fil-A ban," 11 July 2019 The public also mistrusts the local police watchdog body, seen as lacking teeth and independence—but Lam has remained steadfast in rejecting calls for an independent inquiry. Ilaria Maria Sala, Quartz, "Hong Kong’s last major riots reshaped the city into the one we know today," 9 July 2019 Other outlets held off, however, with 28 of the top 50 American newspapers by Sunday circulation publishing nothing on the report the day after it was issued, according to the liberal watchdog Media Matters for America. Marc Tracy, New York Times, "As the World Heats Up, the Climate for News Is Changing, Too," 8 July 2019 The independent auditor is the people’s watchdog …. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Longtime City Hall staffer may become San Diego auditor after national search," 6 July 2019 Britain’s equality watchdog is investigating whether the opposition Labour Party illegally discriminated against Jews. The Economist, "British Jews trace Iberian heritage to retain EU citizenship," 4 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Celeb watchdog the Shade Room captured the entire interaction, which went down in the comments section of a post partially showing the album's track list. Andrea Park, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande Claps Back at Fan Who Accused Her of Cheating on Mac Miller With Pete Davidson," 9 Aug. 2018 The council meeting followed last week's 82-24 vote by OPCW member nations giving the international chemical weapons watchdog the authority to determine blame for chemical attacks for the first time, over strong objections from Russia and Syria. Fox News, "UN members: Syria not answering chemical weapons questions," 3 July 2018 Get all the local news, sports, things to do and watchdog reporting from and The Enquirer with an unlimited digital access subscription. Cincinnati Enquirer,, "First month free: Subscribe to unlimited digital access to," 19 Mar. 2018 The environmental community will be able to watchdog any facility on Earth. John Fialka, Scientific American, "Meet the Satellites that Can Pinpoint Methane and Carbon Dioxide Leaks," 9 Mar. 2018 The three-member board of commissioners that is supposed to watchdog our tax dollars and act as Zimmerman's boss has boosted his pay by more than 60 percent since he was hired in 2010. Mark Naymik,, "Metroparks CEO gets raise, new contract and converts vacation days to cash: Mark Naymik," 8 Jan. 2018 In a statement, Peter Starzynski, executive director of the Northwest Accountability Project, which bills itself as a nonprofit that watchdogs right-leaning organizations, lauded the decision. Joseph O’sullivan, The Seattle Times, "Campaign-finance case against the Freedom Foundation is sent to AG’s office," 29 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'watchdog.' 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 watchdog


1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1902, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near watchdog


watch crystal

watch desk





Statistics for watchdog

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for watchdog

The first known use of watchdog was in 1612

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More Definitions for watchdog



English Language Learners Definition of watchdog

: a dog that is trained to guard a place
: a person or organization that makes sure that companies, governments, etc., are not doing anything illegal or wrong


watch·​dog | \ ˈwäch-ˌdȯg How to pronounce watchdog (audio) \

Kids Definition of watchdog

: a dog kept to guard property

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More from Merriam-Webster on watchdog

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with watchdog

Spanish Central: Translation of watchdog

Nglish: Translation of watchdog for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of watchdog for Arabic Speakers

Comments on watchdog

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characterized by aphorism

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