watch·dog | \ˈwäch-ˌdȯg, 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

Strays, former house pets, watchdogs, show dogs and guard dogs have been sent there ostensibly for concerns about public health. Colin Covert, idahostatesman, "Wes Anderson’s animated ‘Isle of Dogs’ is a delight with bite | Idaho Statesman," 12 Apr. 2018 One of its executives also confronted Jim Hall, a charter schools watchdog, who wanted to speak. Craig Harris, azcentral, "East Valley charter, subject of Republic investigation, reverses itself after blocking public comment," 14 July 2018 The British privacy watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO,) said Wednesday that intends to fine Facebook the maximum possible fine for the data protection violation. David Meyer, Fortune, "Facebook Is Getting Its First Big Fine Over the Cambridge Analytica Scandal," 11 July 2018 Kavanaugh has made no secret of his view that the consumer watchdog — the brainchild of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and the most prized liberal achievement of the Dodd-Frank Act — is unconstitutional. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: CFPB further under fire with Kavanaugh pick for Supreme Court," 11 July 2018 The penalty from the U.K. data watchdog, called the Information Commissioner's Office, could change as the agency discusses the matter further with Facebook. Tony Romm And Elizabeth Dwoskin,, "Facebook is slapped with first fine for Cambridge Analytica scandal," 10 July 2018 That message, highlighted by the Justice Department watchdog, particularly unsettled Mr. Trump and his supporters. Alex Pena, CBS News, "Peter Strzok agrees to testify before Congress next week," 6 July 2018 Monday’s announcement follows a recommendation from the state’s judicial watchdog, which called Santino unfit for the job because of the way her election bid included smears against her opponent’s criminal defense practice. Marc Freeman,, "Florida Supreme Court orders judge removed over campaign misconduct," 2 July 2018 The commission also recommended that the city auditor, a financial watchdog, be required to report suspected wrongdoing to the inspector general. Ian Duncan,, "Baltimore Mayor Pugh backs independent inspector general as part of city charter changes," 11 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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

8 Oct 2018

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 \

Kids Definition of watchdog

: a dog kept to guard property

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Comments on watchdog

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


one that holds something together

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