\ ˈwäch How to pronounce watch (audio) , ˈwȯch\
watched; watching; watches

Definition of watch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to keep vigil as a devotional exercise
b : to be awake during the night
2a : to be attentive or vigilant
b : to keep guard
3a : to keep someone or something under close observation
b : to observe as a spectator the country watched as stocks fell sharply
4 : to be expectant : wait watch for the signal

transitive verb

1 : to keep under guard
2a : to observe closely in order to check on action or change being watched by the police
b : to look at : observe sat and watched the crowd
c : to look on at watch television watch a ball game
3a : to take care of : tend
b : to be careful of watches his diet
4 : to be on the alert for : bide watched her opportunity
watch it
: look out : be careful watch it when you handle the glassware
watch one's step
: to proceed with extreme care : act or talk warily
watch over
: to have charge of : superintend



Definition of watch (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : the act of keeping awake to guard, protect, or attend
b obsolete : the state of being wakeful
c : a wake over a dead body
d : a state of alert and continuous attention
e : close observation : surveillance
f : a notice or bulletin that alerts the public to the possibility of severe weather conditions occurring in the near future a winter storm watch
2a : any of the definite divisions of the night made by ancient peoples
b : one of the indeterminate intervals marking the passage of night usually used in plural the silent watches of the night
b archaic : the office or function of a sentinel or guard
4a : a body of soldiers or sentinels making up a guard
b : a watchman or body of watchmen formerly assigned to patrol the streets of a town at night, announce the hours, and act as police
5a(1) : a portion of time during which a part of a ship's company is on duty
(2) : the part of a ship's company required to be on duty during a particular watch
(3) : a sailor's assigned duty period
b : a period of duty : shift
c : a term as holder especially of an overseeing or managerial office the business grew on her watch
6 : a portable timepiece designed to be worn (as on the wrist) or carried in the pocket — compare clock

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Examples of watch in a Sentence


They have a rookie on the team who is fun to watch. I fell asleep watching television. What movie are you watching? “Mom, watch me do a cartwheel!” She sat and watched the children play. “Would you like to play, too?” “No, I'll just watch.” Just sit back and watch. Keep watching to see what happens next. “What happens next?” “Watch and see.” People are watching this presidential race very carefully.


He glanced at his watch. When you're driving in winter you should always be on the watch for ice on the roads.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Pet parents can drink a craft beer and watch their pups from the brand-new deck that sits besides the park, as well. Emily Sabens, Indianapolis Star, "Sip a beer and play with your pup at Metazoa Brewing's renovated dog park," 8 July 2019 Rose, who watched the play from first base, pointed out the short dimensions [316 feet] in right field. Branson Wright,, "40 years after historic All-Star Game, Dave Parker battles Parkinson’s, helps at Reds Youth Academy," 7 July 2019 Major League Baseball made the announcement Sunday afternoon in the midst of the Milwaukee Brewers' 6-5 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park, a game which Yelich watched from the bench. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Christian Yelich withdraws from Home Run Derby due to a sore back," 7 July 2019 Tite couldn’t ever drop Neymar, who was present at Sunday's final, watching from Bolsonaro's box at the Maracanã. Jonathan Wilson,, "Brazil Shows Character, Quality in Winning Copa America, Restoring Faith," 7 July 2019 Many people watching at home have health insurance through their employer. George Will, National Review, "How Can Presidential Candidates Be So Silly?," 7 July 2019 Among the people watching the teams compete were Natasha Stagmer’s daughers, ages 5 and 15. Talia Richman,, "At Baltimore tournament, roller derby athletes find family and fun," 6 July 2019 Three-time mayoral candidate J. Stan McCauley usually boasts a serene kind of confidence, as if the former preacher and TV entrepreneur is still watching the fray from behind his camera. Rebecca Lurye,, "After 26 years without a black mayor, six Hartford residents try to break the streak without splitting the vote," 6 July 2019 LeBron James, who watched from the opposite baseline, multitasked by greeting various dignitaries who stopped to pay their respects, DeMar DeRozan, P.J. Tucker and Brandon Ingram among them. Scott Cacciola, New York Times, "Zion Williamson Lives Up to the Hype, at Least for One Night," 6 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Up to 60 percent off SHOP Macy's Date: July 2–7 Discount: 20 percent off sale and clearance clothing and accessories, jewelry, watches, and home items. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "The Best Fourth of July Sales to Shop While You Lounge by the Pool," 2 July 2019 Our phones, smart watches, and endless notifications help us avoid it. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "The surprising benefit of being bored at work," 1 July 2019 In the meantime, StockX is expanding further into secondhand sales of luxury goods such as handbags and watches, an area currently topped by The RealReal, a San Francisco start-up that plans to go public this week. Erin Griffith, New York Times, "Buy Low-Tops, Sell High-Tops: StockX Sneaker Exchange Is Worth $1 Billion," 26 June 2019 StockX gives consumers a platform to buy and sell like-new merchandise in four categories: sneakers, watches, handbags and street wear. Jc Reindl, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit startup StockX now worth $1B: How it got rare status," 26 June 2019 According to the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, which keeps careful watch, approximately 380 of his buildings survive, most in private hands. Michael J. Lewis, WSJ, "Bulldozing a Modernist Landmark," 22 June 2019 The Southeast Denver metro area covering Douglas and Arapahoe counties are included in the watch, the NWS said. Kirk Mitchell, The Denver Post, "Severe thunderstorm watch for southern Denver metro includes threat of lime-sized hail, possible tornadoes," 21 June 2019 Their home, which somehow manages to feel minimal despite their predilections, is filled with art and maps, books and cameras, boxes of old watches, shelves of sculptures and lots of dice, flowerpots and midcentury modern furniture. Deborah Stoll,, "Weekend estate-sale hunting with Trick Dog’s Josh Harris," 5 June 2019 This little unit has special sections for dad's glasses, watches, jewelry, ties, and more. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "19 Inexpensive Father's Day Gifts Your Dad Will Actually Want," 4 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'watch.' 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 watch


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for watch


Middle English wacchen, from Old English wæccan — more at wake

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Statistics for watch

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for watch

The first known use of watch was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for watch



English Language Learners Definition of watch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to look at (someone or something) for an amount of time and pay attention to what is happening
: to give your attention to (a situation, an event, etc.)
: to care for (someone or something) for a period of time in order to make sure that nothing bad or unwanted happens



English Language Learners Definition of watch (Entry 2 of 2)

: a device that shows what time it is and that you wear on your wrist or carry in a pocket
: the act of giving your attention to someone or something especially in order to make sure that nothing bad or unwanted happens
: the act of looking for someone or something that you expect to see : the act of regularly checking to see if someone has arrived or if something has appeared or happened


\ ˈwäch How to pronounce watch (audio) \
watched; watching

Kids Definition of watch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to keep in view Did you watch the game?
2 : to be on the lookout I'm watching for a signal.
3 : to take care of : tend Watch the house until I get back.
4 : to be careful of Watch your step.
5 : to keep guard Watch outside the door.
6 : to stay awake She watched at the sick child's bedside.
watch out
: to be aware of and ready for Remember to watch out for broken glass.

Other Words from watch

watcher noun



Kids Definition of watch (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a small timepiece worn on the wrist or carried
2 : close observation
4 : the time during which someone is on duty to guard or be on the lookout
5 : an act of keeping awake to guard or protect

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More from Merriam-Webster on watch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for watch

Spanish Central: Translation of watch

Nglish: Translation of watch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of watch for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about watch

Comments on watch

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


something desired as essential

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