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



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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 Now the new season of Netflix’s marquee series, under the watchful eye of its writer and showrunner, Peter Morgan, has to perform its greatest high-wire act yet: how to make such a familiar story feel fresh and new. Sarah Lyall, New York Times, "‘The Crown’ Has Had Its Scandals, but There’s Nothing Like Diana," 12 Nov. 2020 Like students everywhere during the pandemic, Aguilar, a junior at San Francisco State University, was attending school and taking a test from home under the watchful eye of no one. Nanette Asimov,, "Online cheating surges during the pandemic; universities struggle to find a solution," 3 Nov. 2020 At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House gleamed bright, behind black metal fencing and cement barriers and metal bars and the watchful gaze of Secret Service officers. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, "Waiting for relief," 4 Nov. 2020 And even if Ant satisfies new regulatory requirements, its massive business will only move forward under the watchful eye of China's regulators, which could limit growth. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Wall Street got the election night it feared the most," 4 Nov. 2020 PredictIt, the political stock market Wall Street will keep its watchful eye on the election and react accordingly. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "2020 U.S. presidential election expected to involve more than $1 billion in wagers," 2 Nov. 2020 Others echo it’s prudent for leaders to keep a watchful eye on what’s going on within their companies. Carol Cain, Detroit Free Press, "Here's what has to happen inside your business after the election," 31 Oct. 2020 The terror takes place under a therapist’s watchful eye, in situations that can be manipulated and ended at will. Nicole Johnson, National Geographic, "How horror movies can help people overcome real-world trauma," 30 Oct. 2020 After all, Lazy Bear started in an apartment without the watchful gaze of Michelin inspectors. Janelle Bitker,, "San Francisco’s Lazy Bear rose out of a recession. Can it survive coronavirus?," 13 Aug. 2020

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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Last Updated

25 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Watchful.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2020.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on watchful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for watchful

Nglish: Translation of watchful for Spanish Speakers

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