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 watchfully (audio) , ˈwȯch-​ \ adverb
watchfulness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for watchful


alert, Argus-eyed, attentive, awake, observant, open-eyed, tenty (also tentie) [Scottish], vigilant, wide-awake



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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

Inside the compound, under the watchful eye of workers in blue shirts, children walk around in orange caps to shield them from the glaring summer heat. Rosa Flores, CNN, "Inside a Florida migrant facility that's become a stop for presidential candidates," 27 June 2019 The tour culminated in a homecoming gig the following summer, beneath the watchful eyes of the gargoyles at Cardiff Castle. Longreads, "Manic Street Preachers’ Album The Holy Bible," 25 June 2019 Under the watchful eyes and caring lessons of Jimmy, the three brothers have accomplished unprecedented athletic achievements., "Deaths in Central Florida: 6/25," 25 June 2019 Cardi B isn’t letting the watchful eyes of millions of viewers interrupt some personal time with her man. Rachel Desantis,, "Cardi B Gives Offset a Lap Dance During Joint BET Awards Performance," 24 June 2019 Having learned his trade under the watchful eye of Pep Guardiola since 2016, the Spaniard may opt to take the reins at Newcastle., "Rafa Benitez: 5 Managers Who Could Replace the Spaniard at Newcastle United Next Season," 24 June 2019 Receiver Cooper Kupp, coming off season-ending knee surgery, participated in drills under the watchful eye of trainers. Gary Klein,, "Jared Goff considers new contract with Rams since Eagles locked up Carson Wentz," 11 June 2019 The accolades for Ferraro have been rolling in at the Sharks’ development camp this week, as well, which continued with a scrimmage Wednesday under the watchful eye of the team’s staff, including general manager Doug Wilson and coach Pete DeBoer. Curtis Pashelka, The Mercury News, "Meet the Sharks’ prospect that Cale Makar called the “hardest working guy” he’s ever met," 27 June 2019 That featured a lonely single man, wandering aimlessly round Paradise under the watchful eye of the show’s creator. 1843, "Love Island’s literary forebears, from Eden to The Tempest," 19 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.

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First Known Use of watchful

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

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Statistics for watchful

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

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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 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

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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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characterized by aphorism

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