\ 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 plural the 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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Simply spritz, scrunch, and watch your hair become perfectly beachy. ELLE, 21 May 2022 Now after many years of having to face the paparazzi and watch her personal life get splashed across the tabloids, Lohan is taking control of her own narrative as the host of her new Studio71 podcast, The Lohdown. Jeff Conway, Forbes, 20 May 2022 The Panthers will host watch parties for Games 3 and 4 on Sunday and Monday. Chris Perkins, Sun Sentinel, 20 May 2022 At the end of Thursday’s hearing, Judge Penny Azcarate, sent jurors home for the weekend with a reminder not to read or watch anything about the case. Sean Piccoli, Rolling Stone, 20 May 2022 Adam Buksa, forward Player to watch: Dylan Borrero – New England Revolution saw the arrival of Colombian and Under-22 Initiative player, Dylan Borrero. Pat Brennan, The Enquirer, 20 May 2022 Fast Friday, where Honda and Chevy crank up the boost and watch those top average lap speeds soar well into the 230s. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, 20 May 2022 Burnette, the current tribal president, said the tribe had a small clubhouse where kids could watch a black and white television and buy candy for a nickel. USA Today, 20 May 2022 Mic Drop offers free monthly workshops, a booth in the back to watch and learn from other performers, and a podcasting room available to rent. San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The issue that plagued the lineup in recent knockouts under Bruce Cassidy’s watch has become repetitive: a lack of timely goal scoring, and lack of overall scoring, with not nearly enough presence in high-danger shooting areas. Kevin Paul Dupont,, 21 May 2022 Richemont’s lucrative watch and jewelry businesses may be the gems that investors are interested in. Carol Ryan, WSJ, 20 May 2022 For walk-ins, Wright says there will be a welcome host that will invite guests in to see the space and have a quick conversation, however, serious buyers will still be encouraged to come back another time to meet with a watch expert. Paige Reddinger, Robb Report, 20 May 2022 Young calves under 1 year old just watch, Ziltener said. Katie Hunt, CNN, 19 May 2022 Health officials around the world are keeping watch for more cases because, for the first time, the disease appears to be spreading among people who didn’t travel to Africa. Maria Cheng, Chicago Tribune, 19 May 2022 In Kharkiv, the men found a ghost town, where monuments and churches kept watch over empty streets. New York Times, 19 May 2022 Auburn’s baseball team also has a College World Series berth under Greene’s watch, and Butch Thompson’s team is on the cusp of another postseason appearance (and a chance to host a regional for the first time since 2003). Tom Green |, al, 17 May 2022 The region’s four senators are among those who have kept closer watch on Metro as its troubles have mounted in recent months. Justin George, Washington Post, 17 May 2022 See More

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.

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

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best smart watches.

Learn More About watch

Time Traveler for watch

Time Traveler

The first known use of watch was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near watch




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for watch

Last Updated

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Watch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for watch


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on watch

Nglish: Translation of watch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of watch for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about watch


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!