\ 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

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 The matchup to watch will be former AAU buddies battling inside: Wolverines freshman Hunter Dickinson (15 points, 7.8 rebounds) against Hawkeyes senior Luka Garza (24.7 points, 8.5 rebounds). Marlowe Alter, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan Wolverines basketball game vs. Iowa Hawkeyes: Time, TV, more info," 25 Feb. 2021 In the wake of the rover’s awe-inspiring touchdown on Mars on Feb 18, an event that brought over 20 million people together to watch NASA’s livestream of the successful landing, there was even more to the incredible spectacle than met the eye. Megan Mccluskey, Time, "NASA Hid an Inspiring Message on the Parachute of the Mars Rover Perseverance," 25 Feb. 2021 Join the conferences and panels virtually each day or watch on-demand. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, "North County Business Briefs, Feb. 25," 25 Feb. 2021 Sign up for a free 7-day trial of Peacock now to watch the show online or via the app. Mike Rose, cleveland, "How to watch ‘Punky Brewster’ reboot on Peacock for free," 25 Feb. 2021 Hullinger has found a babysitter who would be willing to watch her children for $180 a week. USA Today, "Surgery for a child, car loan, electric bills: We asked Americans how they’d spend $1,400 stimulus checks, and this is what they told us," 25 Feb. 2021 Then a journalist who talked to his class for career day urged the students to watch a local news segment where Benjamin learned about the Chicago Vaccine Hunters group. Washington Post, "People are struggling to get vaccine appointments. A 14-year-old stepped in to help.," 25 Feb. 2021 For the uninitiated, this peppery soup is made with a red chili pepper base and teems with tripe and hominy and garnished with diced onions, fresh herbs — watch for oregano stems! Mara Severin, Anchorage Daily News, "Spicy takeout is getting our dining reviewer through winter. Here are her favorite orders.," 25 Feb. 2021 The company said business was driven by the home, beauty, jewelry and watch categories; growth in online sales; and by acquiring new customers. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, "Macy's plans to close more stores despite seeing online sales growth. Will your store shutter?," 24 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The plan paid off during the first peak season under Ms. Tomé’s watch. Paul Ziobro, WSJ, "UPS Boss Preaches the Power of No," 26 Feb. 2021 LeBron James was 27 years old when Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager who was wearing a hoodie when he was shot and killed on Feb. 26, 2012 by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "LeBron James found his voice on social issues following Trayvon Martin's shooting death," 26 Feb. 2021 The first evening watch was on Feb. 13, and since then, neighbors have stood guard outside Si’s home every night. Washington Post, "An Asian American family was being harassed. Neighbors now stand guard each night at their home.," 26 Feb. 2021 The construction comes as Israel — under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — maintains its scathing criticism of Iran's nuclear program, which remains under the watch of United Nations inspectors unlike its own. Jon Gambrell, Star Tribune, "Secretive Israeli nuclear facility undergoes major project," 25 Feb. 2021 In 1982, the Finnish wearable tech company Polar married an EXG and a radio chest strap to create the first serious biometric sports watch, the Polar Sports Tester PE2000. Jennifer Kite-powell, Forbes, "Move Over Fitness Trackers, Here Come On-Skin Electronics That Look Like Stickers," 25 Feb. 2021 This new style of racing is fairly simple: put on sneakers, step outside, start watch, go. Alyssa Ages, Wired, "How This Old-School Road Runner Learned to Love Virtual Races," 25 Feb. 2021 The Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, all with critical responsibilities in the state, would fall under Haaland’s watch. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "Historic nomination of Deb Haaland for Interior secretary spurs hope and apprehension in Alaska," 25 Feb. 2021 In 2019, his eponymous brand partnered with Regal Assets to unveil the first functional Bitcoin watch known as the Vanguard Encrypto. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, "Franck Muller’s Newest Watch Doubles as a Bitcoin Wallet, and You’ll Need Cryptocurrency to Buy It," 24 Feb. 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.

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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

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Watch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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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