\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of watch in a Sentence

Verb 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. Noun He glanced at his watch. When you're driving in winter you should always be on the watch for ice on the roads.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Each July, people gather to watch what might be the only competition in the world that doubles as functional landscaping. Liza Weisstuch, Smithsonian Magazine, "Ten Cultural Experiences to Put on Your Post-Pandemic Bucket List," 27 Apr. 2021 Click the name of each horse for more information and to watch video of his last prep race. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Why your 2021 Kentucky Derby horse can — or can't — win," 26 Apr. 2021 The hand count of all 2.1 million Maricopa County ballots cast in November's presidential election continues on Monday, but the ability to sign up to watch as an observer is closed, at least for now. Jen Fifield, The Arizona Republic, "All observer shifts full for now as Arizona election audit continues Monday," 26 Apr. 2021 Hiring teams will soon be required to be diverse, both demographically and departmentally, and to watch a video about bias before each interview., "Top Places to Work: Diversity edition," 26 Apr. 2021 Following some moving words from director Zhao, McDormand implored viewers to watch the other nominees in theaters, when possible. Aida Ylanan, Los Angeles Times, "Watch the 6 must-see moments from the 2021 Oscars," 26 Apr. 2021 West argues the Lone Star State will be one to watch in 2028 but may not carry as much play in 2024. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Census results boost Sun Belt state clout for 2024 presidential race," 26 Apr. 2021 McMaster was the defensive coordinator at Crete-Monee until 2018, stepping down to take time to watch his son play his senior hockey season. Rick Armstrong,, "Football notes: On his future field at NIU, Trey Urwiler can’t stop Batavia from being turned away by Wheaton North in red zone," 26 Apr. 2021 The effect of those price increases on consumer behavior will be interesting to watch. Jinjoo Lee, WSJ, "Supermarkets Say Goodbye to Pantry Loading, Hello to Inflation," 26 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As the verdict watch continues, there are currently 3,000 National Guard troops who have been deployed in Minneapolis and St. Paul, often known collectively as the Twin Cities, and people are on an extreme edge awaiting Judge Cahill’s announcement. Kevin L. Clark, Essence, "Derek Chauvin Is Found Guilty Of Murdering George Floyd," 20 Apr. 2021 Of course, what really sets the watch apart is the figurine of Black Panther on its dial. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, "LeBron James Stole the Show(time) by Wearing Audemars Piguet’s ‘Black Panther’ Watch to the Lakers Game," 19 Apr. 2021 Cara Barrett loves the watch for a different reason. Brynn Wallner, Harper's BAZAAR, "4 Iconic Watches to Know If You're Considering Investing," 16 Apr. 2021 Winter weather advisories are in effect for western Hampden County and eastern Franklin and Hampshire counties, and a winter storm watch is in effect for northern Worcester and northern Middlesex counties., "These maps show what to expect from the nor’easter Thursday night into Friday," 15 Apr. 2021 The watch was allowed to expire at 8 a.m. for the rest of south Alabama, and there are no other watches in effect for the state. Leigh Morgan, al, "Severe weather threat nearly over for Alabama today," 10 Apr. 2021 It’s the smartwatch most people want to buy and the watch that many companies try to copy. Chris Smith, BGR, "Pixel Watch revealed: Google’s Apple Watch rival has finally leaked," 9 Apr. 2021 Some have an eco-drive movement that converts the wearer’s own motion into power for the watch. Michael Pollick,, "The best Cartier watch," 9 Apr. 2021 This time about the mask mandate - watch then contact @GovCox! Taylor Stevens, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Service workers worry about confrontations, lack of vaccinations as the end of Utah’s statewide mask mandate approaches," 5 Apr. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about watch

Time Traveler for watch

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for watch

Last Updated

28 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Watch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!