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

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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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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 Many stations have a multitude of sub-tasks, each of which must be performed under the watchful eye of a pass-or-fail grader. Marc Lester, Anchorage Daily News, "Paratroopers face dozens of physical and skill tests on JBER with hopes of being pinned an ‘expert’," 2 May 2021 The reboot of The CW's iconic teen series stars a whole new group of privileged New York City students getting entangled in drama under the watchful eye of the ubiquitous Gossip Girl. Katie Campione,, "Gossip Girl Gets Premiere Date, Cast Talks Reboot's Diversity: No One's World Is 'Exclusively White'," 28 Apr. 2021 In Saturday’s spring game, Milton was able to watch his quarterback competition with three players getting auditioning under the watchful eye of new Vols coach Josh Heupel. Chris Hays,, "QB Joe Milton’s social media post declares Tennessee as his new home," 26 Apr. 2021 Just keep a watchful eye out for Peter and his sisters, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton Tail! Ann Norman, cleveland, "What are you planting in your garden this spring?," 23 Apr. 2021 Along the banks of a muddy Rio Grande, two national guardsmen, carrying long rifles, keep a watchful eye on the border for mostly Central American migrants sneaking into the U.S. Dallas News, "Biden’s best tools in stopping immigrants from crossing the border: Mexican soldiers and the pandemic," 16 Apr. 2021 Yet, Hollywood and theater owners will be keeping a watchful eye as the premiere approaches. Frank Pallotta, CNN, "The greatest stunt yet from the 'Fast & Furious': Saving movie theaters," 14 Apr. 2021 Besides keeping a watchful eye on both tourists and monarchs, such work provides local economic opportunities and reduces the pressure on the mountains and forest to provide logging, mining, and cultivation jobs. Sara Dykman, Smithsonian Magazine, "Biking 10,000 Miles With Monarchs," 14 Apr. 2021 But over the last year, a wildfire struck the park — which in non-pandemic times is visited annually by roughly 2.5 million tourists — amid a devastating drought, all under the watchful eye of environmental groups and animal activists. Susanne Rust Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Scores of tule elk died at Point Reyes seashore in 2020. Are their days numbered?," 14 Apr. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of watchful

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

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Time Traveler for watchful

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

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Statistics for watchful

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Watchful.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for watchful



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

More from Merriam-Webster on watchful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for watchful

Nglish: Translation of watchful for Spanish Speakers

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