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


countersign, password, word

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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

Consolidation has been a watchword in the military industry for some time, as companies have argued that getting bigger would give them more scale and cost savings that can be poured into research and development, as well as shareholder returns. New York Times, "United Technologies and Raytheon to Combine Into Aerospace and Military Giant," 9 June 2019 With efficiency the watchword, patient care became heavily dependent on new technologies. Lucette Lagnado, WSJ, "A Sisterhood of Nurses," 11 Aug. 2018 Why this matters: Artificial intelligence (AI) seems to be the new watchword at companies like Google, Microsoft and others: sprinkle a little AI on a feature, and watch its engagement grow. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Google's new search features tap AI to make your Android phone and PC even smarter," 24 Sep. 2018 Cheap and cheery may be the watchwords, but casual can still come with killer views, and their Crow’s Nest bar overlooks the beautiful surrounding creeks from its Mount Pleasant locale. Paul Oswell, Condé Nast Traveler, "10 Best Rooftop Bars in Charleston," 26 Apr. 2018 Sophistication was a watchword of Riccardo Tisci’s, too. Sarah Mower, Vogue, "The Top 9 Collections of London Fashion Week Spring 2019," 19 Sep. 2018 The watchword among meteorologists has become impact over speed, stressing that Florence will cause extreme damage through storm surges, rain, and flooding. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Florence Makes Landfall, Hundreds Already Need Evacuation," 14 Sep. 2018 Individual style has been a mantra of designers for years and is considered a watchword of good taste in interiors circles. Cindy Dampier,, "Antiques for millennials: You want old stuff — you just don't know it yet," 8 May 2018 With the company’s expansion into music, cross-pollination has become the watchword. Eric Spitznagel, Billboard, "The Internationalists: Five Companies Leading Dance Music's Global Expansion," 23 Mar. 2018

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

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

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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

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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).


to spread over or through

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