\ 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 Viewers at home can watch the broadcast on Channel 5 and participate virtually in several ways. Luann Gibbs, The Enquirer, "Here's your ultimate Cincinnati holiday event guide for 2020," 13 Nov. 2020 Both sets of children watch the same teaching from the same teacher, whether that teacher is working from the classroom or from their home. Hannah Natanson, Washington Post, "Wary Northern Virginia superintendents eye reopening — but note rising virus cases," 13 Nov. 2020 First, watch right guard Wyatt Teller (77) create a lane for Chubb by shielding defensive tackle and linebacker Jaylon Smith by using his foot speed to set an edge neither defender can penetrate. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "What the Browns' offense was missing without Nick Chubb -- Film Review," 12 Nov. 2020 But for now the Taliban leadership will watch and wait, as their fighters keep up their offensives. New York Times, "U.S. Troops Are Still Leaving, but Afghans Hope Biden Will Help," 12 Nov. 2020 With big stakes on the line, playing in front of a national TV audience, here’s what to watch in the first divisional game Indianapolis has played since the opener. Joel A. Erickson, The Indianapolis Star, "Insider: 28 things to watch in Colts-Titans showdown," 11 Nov. 2020 Personnel from multiple teams, with player consent, can watch a player’s individual workout at the same time, but the workout counts toward each team’s 10-visit limit. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, "'Explosive' Arizona guard Josh Green works out for Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz," 10 Nov. 2020 Viewers can watch interviews with Carroll County Veterans and the Carroll County History Project’s other interview collections online by visiting, "Community Media Center to feature interviews with former military members on Veterans Day Broadcast," 10 Nov. 2020 And then watch Joe Biden be shown the door by his party's young ideological zealots. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, "Republicans Can Learn from the 1892 Election," 10 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The royal wore her Cartier watch and Tod's loafers. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Prince Charles Proposed to Another Woman Before His Engagement to Princess Diana—And She Turned Him Down," 15 Nov. 2020 Major watch items include perennial concerns such as taxes and regulation, as well as trade — especially whether Biden will seek to improve global ties after four years of tensions stoked by Trump. Kevin Miller And Melinda Grenier, oregonlive, "Here are the business sectors that will thrive, dive under Biden administration," 15 Nov. 2020 One of the most popular watch spots, the park is 15 miles directly across from where Crew-1 will take off. Caroline Glenn,, "How to watch NASA, SpaceX’s Crew-1 astronaut launch Saturday in person and online," 13 Nov. 2020 Here are five things to keep watch for as the battle for the Texas House plays out across the state. James Barragán, Dallas News, "5 things to watch in the Texas House elections," 3 Nov. 2020 Daniel would stay up late to keep watch over her roommate. al, "How the evacuation of a nursing home in Alabama spread coronavirus," 19 Oct. 2020 Moran and other Scranton Trump supporters aid their signs have repeatedly been stolen, pushing some to install security cameras to keep watch over the signs. Bo Erickson, CBS News, "Joe Biden's Scranton is filled with signs and anxious Democrats," 16 Oct. 2020 Among its most notable features, however, was a rooftop belvedere from which John would keep watch during storms with brother Theodore. Mike Scott,, "Washed-away Bruning restaurant and family home live on in memory, film and at SoFab," 1 Sep. 2020 Several police cruisers, including Jackson’s security detail, kept watch over the protest. Kaylee Remington, cleveland, "Protesters march to Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s demanding firing of officer who killed Desmond Franklin," 29 Aug. 2020

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

17 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Watch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 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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