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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from watchful

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for watchful



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 The tent has three thin mattresses, on which two children are fast asleep, despite the cacophony created by 20 toddlers who are running around under the watchful eye of two caregivers. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "We’re facing a global childcare shortage—and women and children are paying the price," 11 Sep. 2019 The Gentiles made-from-scratch kitchen has been under the watchful eye of Chef Ken Apollo for 23 years. Claire Perez,, "Clams oreganato stand test of time at Gianni’s in Pompano," 5 Sep. 2019 Perry's exclusive deal has seen him mastermind offerings for the BET channel and forthcoming streaming service BET+, launching this fall under Perry's watchful eye. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "Tyler Perry Teams With Tim Palen For New Production Company," 3 Sep. 2019 Charlotte and big brother Prince George watched the race from a nearby boat under the watchful eye of their grandparents. Erin Hill,, "The Real Reason Princess Charlotte Adorably Stuck Out Her Tongue at Will and Kate’s Sailing Event," 21 Aug. 2019 After hauling in passes from quarterback Kirk Cousins under the watchful eye of coach Mike Zimmer, Beebe took snaps from rookie long snapper Austin Cutting with special-teams coordinator Marwan Maalouf looking on. Dane Mizutani, Twin Cities, "The busiest Vikings player on the practice field: fan favorite Chad Beebe," 16 Aug. 2019 Secure beneath the watchful eyes If ubiquitous computing will turn companies of things into companies of services, the IoT will transform consumers of things into computer users, with all that implies. The Economist, "The Internet of Things will bring the internet’s business model into the rest of the world," 12 Sep. 2019 Recent political history shows that the Democratic model of continual retreat into watchful, timorous bunker mode is a losing proposition. Elizabeth Spiers, The New Republic, "Beyond Pelosi," 24 July 2019 In real life, Fails is watchful, engaging — and pragmatic. Amy Alexander, Washington Post, "‘The Last Black Man in San Francisco’ captures the heartbreak and anger of people displaced by gentrification," 14 June 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of watchful

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about watchful

Statistics for watchful

Last Updated

25 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for watchful

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for watchful


How to pronounce watchful (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of watchful

: always watching the actions of someone or something : paying careful attention to someone or something


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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on watchful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for watchful

Spanish Central: Translation of watchful

Nglish: Translation of watchful for Spanish Speakers

Comments on watchful

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


a calculated move

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice with tweedle dee and tweedle dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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