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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for watchword


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 Intervening to stop another officer from engaging in improper conduct has become a watchword for departments. Randy Furst, Star Tribune, "What kind of training is required for police officers in Minnesota?," 19 Feb. 2021 Perhaps most of all, the watchword of the post-COVID workplace will be flexibility. Chris Taylor, Fortune, "When you get back to your office, here’s what’s going to be different," 31 Jan. 2021 Nonprofits across the spectrum have tackled the constraints of the pandemic in similar ways with creativity as the watchword. Patrick Kennedy, Star Tribune, "Minnesota nonprofits getting creative to crawl out of COVID-19 financial hole," 22 Jan. 2021 That’s because, sidestepping partisanship, the film takes empathy as its watchword. Michael Ordoña, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘No Man’s Land’: An immigration tale told with empathy and humanity," 21 Jan. 2021 Acceptance is very much its watchword, love the reward: The series, which proposes a world without homophobia, ends with the wedding of co-creator and costar Dan Levy’s David Rose to boyfriend Patrick Brewer (Noah Reid). Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: Pop culture isn’t biased toward ‘coastal elites.’ If anything, it’s the opposite," 30 Dec. 2020 Resistance -- a word frequently invoked by Iran's leadership -- is the watchword here. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, "In an Iranian intensive care unit, doctors grapple with Covid-19 and US sanctions," 10 Dec. 2020 Adaptability is the watchword for the restaurant industry right now. Mike Sutter,, "The new trends in San Antonio’s restaurant dining scene as its been impacted by coronavirus pandemic," 22 Oct. 2020 The 1619 Project has emerged as a watchword for our era — a hashtag, a talking point, a journalism case study, a scholarly mission. Washington Post, "How the 1619 Project took over 2020," 13 Oct. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of watchword

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about watchword

Time Traveler for watchword

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for watchword

Last Updated

28 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Watchword.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for watchword



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) \

Kids Definition of watchword

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on watchword

What made you want to look up watchword? 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!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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