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

Trudeau is facing a tough battle at home ahead of Canada’s elections in October — particularly after he was recently called out by a Canadian ethics watchdog for violating ethics laws. Claire Parker, Washington Post, "The G-7 summit kicks off on Saturday. Here are some key relationships to watch.," 23 Aug. 2019 Davis, 49, has been a frequent critic of Portland police and local government and describes himself as a police watchdog and citizen journalist. The Oregonian/oregonlive,, "Activist who smeared his own blood on wall of Portland City Hall gets 2 years of probation," 23 Aug. 2019 He has been widely regarded as a fighter for the vulnerable, a criminal justice reformer and a Police Department watchdog. Trisha Thadani,, "Adachi family hopes new report will help with ‘restoring his reputation’," 22 Aug. 2019 The government asserts that an investigation already underway by a police watchdog is adequate, but critics say the body is staffed with pro-government figures. Daniel Victor,, "Trump: ‘Hong Kong is not helping’ in trade war with China," 15 Aug. 2019 The government asserts that an investigation already underway by a police watchdog is adequate, but critics say the body is staffed with pro-government figures. Daniel Victor, New York Times, "Trump Says ‘Hong Kong Is Not Helping’ in Trade War With China," 15 Aug. 2019 Last month, a British Jewish community watchdog said that a record number of anti-Semitic incidents have been recorded in the United Kingdom for the first six months of 2019., "Yair Lapid seeks to disqualify far-right party from elections," 6 Aug. 2019 That image of Fierle, now 50, as a watchdog for seniors stands in stark contrast to the investigations and complaints swirling around her today. Monivette Cordeiro,, "Florida professional guardian Rebecca Fierle: Devoted or dangerous? | Exclusive," 26 July 2019 As the party wrapped up, Manny went back to the small desk on the 11th floor for his last few hours as the City Council's watchdog. Jessica Boehm, azcentral, "A beat cop, a fateful shooting and the moments that shaped Phoenix's history," 17 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

27 Aug 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

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


readily or continually undergoing change

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