watch·​word | \ ˈwäch-ˌwərd How to pronounce watchword (audio) , ˈwȯch- \

Definition of watchword

1 : a word or phrase used as a sign of recognition among members of the same society, class, or group
2a : a word or motto that embodies a principle or guide to action of an individual or group : slogan "safety" is our watchword
b : a guiding principle change is the watchword for both parties

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Synonyms for watchword


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Examples of watchword in a Sentence

The new watchword in his campaign is “It's time for change.” the watchword is changed every day
Recent Examples on the Web Sustainability and conservation are its watchwords. Dallas News, "Costa Rican ecolodge is a sanctuary that reminds us why we travel in the first place," 20 Apr. 2020 All of these skills are helpful for a big man in the modern NBA, where mobility and versatility are the watchwords of the era. Jeff Mcdonald,, "How did Chimezie Metu fare this season and what is his future with the Spurs?," 18 Apr. 2020 Decision, activity, and dispatch are the watchwords of the presidency, as Alexander Hamilton argued in Federalist No. Yuval Levin, National Review, "Washington’s Response to the Virus," 18 Mar. 2020 Sustainability is the watchword of the Bloom administration, the notion to always be looking ahead and building a wide talent base instead of putting everything into one season. Peter Abraham,, "Chaim Bloom has a plan, and his conviction deserves a chance," 10 Feb. 2020 Hardly anyone can talk abstractly about freedom and connection and collaboration, the blithe watchwords of the mid-2000s, without making a mental list of the internet's more concrete negative externalities. Richard Cooke, Wired, "Wikipedia Is the Last Best Place on the Internet," 17 Feb. 2020 Balance was the watchword of the day for UW, which held a 24-point lead in the second half before Ohio State staged a mini-rally. Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin 70, Ohio State 57: An impressive and important victory," 9 Feb. 2020 Sad and somber and solemn were once again the day’s watchwords., "On a day far from normal, few surprises - The Boston Globe," 20 Dec. 2019 Sad and somber and solemn were once again the day’s watchwords., "On a day far from normal, few surprises - The Boston Globe," 20 Dec. 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for watchword

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The first known use of watchword was in the 15th century

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Statistics for watchword

Last Updated

29 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Watchword.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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How to pronounce watchword (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of watchword

: a word or phrase that expresses a rule that a particular person or group follows


watch·​word | \ ˈwäch-ˌwərd How to pronounce watchword (audio) \

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