watch·ful | \ˈwäch-fəl, 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, ˈwȯch- \ adverb
watchfulness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for watchful


alert, Argus-eyed, attentive, awake, observant, open-eyed, vigilant, wide-awake



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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

There was Hester early Saturday morning, standing alongside Vic as Matt made his way from driving range to practice putting green before the first hole, the two of them not so much providing a watchful gaze as building a supportive web. Tara Sullivan,, "Matt Parziale excelling on golf’s toughest stage, the US Open," 16 June 2018 Here’s a quiz: High-school prom is (a) a place for frustrated teens in formal wear to rub up against each other to the dulcet tones of Pitbull, and under the watchful gaze of exhausted teachers, or (b) a place for wild animals? Madeleine Aggeler, The Cut, "This Florida High-School Prom Included a … Caged Tiger?," 14 May 2018 But the film also charts how the talented but wild and undisciplined team learns how to play together under the watchful and strict gaze of its coach, Lou Adams, a domineering figure who displays steely toughness and intensity. Patrick Z. Mcgavin, Chicago Reader, "State basketball powerhouse Orr Academy’s incredible rise to glory bared in gripping new film," 12 Mar. 2018 Under the watchful gaze of Pistons scout Brendan Malone and personal trainers, Harris had two areas to attack last summer. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Can Pistons' Tobias Harris unlock the key to future All-Star berths?," 22 Jan. 2018 Under the watchful eye of Fox (Angelina Jolie), Wesley becomes a super-assassin, obsessed with hunting down a former Fraternity member who killed his father. Tom Philip, GQ, "Wanted Might Be the Ultimate Action Movie," 4 July 2018 But as Yahoo! Lifestyle reports, there's a far more fun way to avoid Big Brother's watchful eye: Juggalo makeup. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Insane Clown Privacy: Juggalo Makeup Apparently Thwarts Facial Recognition Technology," 3 July 2018 First up is Preacher (Chris Webber), who is performing a baptism under the watchful eye of his wife, Betty Lou (Lisa Leslie). Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "NBA star-filled 'Uncle Drew' is bad, but awfully hard to hate," 28 June 2018 Julia spends nearly the whole movie under Tau’s watchful, pulsing triangular eye. Jason Kehe, WIRED, "Sci-Fi Invades Netflix—as They Both Invade Your Home," 9 July 2018

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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Phrases Related to watchful

keep a watchful eye on (someone or something)

Statistics for watchful

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for watchful

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

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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 \

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

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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

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