\ 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 pluralthe 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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Last season’s record: 9-14 Player to watch: Caleb Brown. David J. Kim, The Courier-Journal, "Can Silver Creek defend the Class 3A state title? Plus, a look at the loaded Class 4A," 25 Nov. 2019 In October, Seo traveled over 5,000 miles to watch Son play in Tottenham's UEFA Champions League group fixture against Red Star Belgrade. Ben Church, CNN, "How Son Heung-Min 'Sonsation' gripped South Korea," 25 Nov. 2019 And Sunday’s blooper reel would be hard to watch if the Bears didn’t have to immediately turn their attention to the Lions. Dan Wiederer,, "Column: After chilling in Club Tub, Khalil Mack details the strip-sack that sparked the Bears’ win over the Giants," 24 Nov. 2019 The first three episodes of the series are available to watch now. Essence, "HBCU Alum, If You Love Homecoming This New Digital Series Is For You," 22 Nov. 2019 Houstonians trying to watch their wallets have a myriad of fun events and organizations to explore here, from unique museums and art installations to gorgeous parks and nature centers. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Fun things to do in Houston for $5 or less," 22 Nov. 2019 All 10 episodes of season three of The Crown are available to watch on Netflix. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "How The Crown Perfectly Recreated Princess Anne's Iconic Hair Styles," 22 Nov. 2019 Episodes can also be watched on YouTube, where the channel has 353,000 subscribers. Ava Kofman, ProPublica, "YouTube Promised to Label State-Sponsored Videos But Doesn’t Always Do So," 22 Nov. 2019 One day in 2011 employees of a government ministry in Beijing were forced to watch the execution of a colleague who had been caught spying for the CIA. The Economist, "The shape-shifting threat of Chinese espionage," 21 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The National Weather Service has issued several snow warnings and watches (see map) that begin Tuesday morning and continue into Wednesday. oregonlive, "Portland metro Monday weather: Morning, afternoon rain showers; light snow Tuesday night," 25 Nov. 2019 For example: balls, sporting equipment, cameras, watches, hair accessories, makeup and games. Houston Chronicle, "Katy-area calendar of events for the week starting Nov. 24," 24 Nov. 2019 That watch, the gossip column noted, is valued at $155,000—but, because Baldwin’s watch was custom made for her birthday its value could be much higher than that. Stacey Leasca, Glamour, "Justin Bieber Gave Hailey Baldwin One Seriously Expensive Birthday Gift," 23 Nov. 2019 Samsung Save up to $300 on Samsung smartphones like the Galaxy Note10, up to $80 on Galaxy watches, up to $200 on Galaxy tablets, and up to $250 on Samsung notebooks and chromebooks. Paige Szmodis, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Black Friday Deals Happening Right Now," 22 Nov. 2019 Several freeze warnings and watches have already been issued in anticipation of this. Leigh Morgan, al, "Rain? Snow? Wintry mix? Alabama could see all three," 11 Nov. 2019 That includes smart watches, headphones, TVs, laptops, and especially smart home appliances like robot vacuums. Shanon Maglente, Good Housekeeping, "The Best Roomba Deals for Black Friday 2019," 22 Oct. 2019 Winter storm warnings and watches stretched from Wyoming and Montana through western Nebraska and into the Dakotas and Minnesota. Pioneer Press, Twin Cities, "I-94 closed in North Dakota as heavy snow socks area," 11 Oct. 2019 Earlier this week, more than two dozen winter storm warnings and watches were issued for parts of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and South Dakota, according to AccuWeather. Chloe Gorman, Country Living, "A 'Potentially Historic' Fall Snowstorm Is Expected to Hit Parts of the U.S. This Week," 10 Oct. 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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Time Traveler for watch

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for watch

Last Updated

28 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Watch.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 10 December 2019.

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More Definitions for watch


How to pronounce watch (audio)

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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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).


to state or do over again or repeatedly

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