watch·​ful | \ ˈwäch-fəl How to pronounce watchful (audio) , ˈwȯch- \

Definition of watchful

1 archaic
a : not able or accustomed to sleep or rest : wakeful
b : causing sleeplessness
c : spent in wakefulness : sleepless
2 : carefully observant or attentive : being on the watch

Other Words from watchful

watchfully \ ˈwäch-​fə-​lē How to pronounce watchful (audio) , ˈwȯch-​ \ adverb
watchfulness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for watchful



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Choose the Right Synonym for watchful

watchful, vigilant, wide-awake, alert mean being on the lookout especially for danger or opportunity. watchful is the least explicit term. the watchful eye of the department supervisor vigilant suggests intense, unremitting, wary watchfulness. eternally vigilant in the safeguarding of democracy wide-awake applies to watchfulness for opportunities and developments more often than dangers. wide-awake companies latched onto the new technology alert stresses readiness or promptness in meeting danger or in seizing opportunity. alert traders anticipated the stock market's slide

Examples of watchful in a Sentence

We need to be more watchful of our children. The hotel is being built under the watchful eye of its architect.
Recent Examples on the Web This ideological push-pull is taking place under the watchful eye of Republican politicians eager to claim that Democrats cannot control or protect their own cities. Ashraf Khalil, ajc, 19 June 2022 But that doesn’t mean James doesn’t keep a caring, watchful eye. Daron James, Los Angeles Times, 14 June 2022 Keep a watchful eye for branches, bushes, or shrubs that touch your house and can provide easy access for ants to make their way inside. Maribeth Jones, Country Living, 14 June 2022 His death from liver cancer in 2017, while under the watchful eye of Chinese security agents, drew an outpouring of grief from liberal Chinese. Christian Shepherd, Washington Post, 3 June 2022 So, if your kid seems prone to these kinds of mental health issues, or is really drawn to individual sports then these results should encourage you to talk to them regularly and keep a watchful eye out. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 June 2022 Brosnahan: Under the watchful eyes of the Lord … Well, this is going to make for an awkward segue, but Bruce’s story ends in tragedy. Randee Dawn, Los Angeles Times, 1 June 2022 On Sunday, Ukrainian troops at positions south of Izium kept watchful eyes on the front line as artillery and mortar rounds pierced the sky. New York Times, 22 May 2022 It was determined the owl was hitting a growth spurt but otherwise healthy and was transported back to the location to be released under the watchful eyes of its parents. Emily Sweeney,, 18 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'watchful.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of watchful

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of watchful was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near watchful

watch for


watchful waiting

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Last Updated

23 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Watchful.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for watchful


watch·​ful | \ ˈwäch-fəl How to pronounce watchful (audio) \

Kids Definition of watchful

: attentive sense 1, vigilant The community was extraordinarily safe, each citizen watchful and protective of all children.— Lois Lowry, The Giver

Other Words from watchful

watchfully \ -​fə-​lē \ adverb
watchfulness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on watchful

Nglish: Translation of watchful for Spanish Speakers


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