sen·​ti·​nel | \ ˈsent-nəl How to pronounce sentinel (audio) , ˈsen-tə-nəl \

Definition of sentinel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: sentry


sentineled or sentinelled; sentineling or sentinelling

Definition of sentinel (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to watch over as a sentinel
2 : to furnish with a sentinel
3 : to post as sentinel

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of sentinel in a Sentence

Noun a lone sentinel kept watch over the fort
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There, a half-mile trail opens to a stunning panorama, with a chimney rock standing sentinel over a lush green V of a canyon. Washington Post, 24 Sep. 2021 Climate conditions are bad at Mt. Shasta, a 14,179-foot sentinel standing watch over Northern California. Los Angeles Times, 9 Sep. 2021 The military called it Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and nobody looked the part of a sentinel more than Sgt. Raheem Hosseini, San Francisco Chronicle, 28 Aug. 2021 There was our first load: a refrigerator box filled with 250 pounds of dope, standing sentinel in the dining room like an upright coffin. Norman Vanamee, Town & Country, 27 July 2021 The gates are closed, but the icon stays lit up through the night — silently keeping sentinel over the ever-changing land of his people. Simon Peter Groebner, Star Tribune, 23 July 2021 Among the bungalows, the family’s mint-green Queen Anne stood like an old sentinel. Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, 19 July 2021 Active cost management requires a sentinel constantly on the lookout for cost-saving opportunities. Robert Sher, Forbes, 29 June 2021 In the distance, the classic prewar shape of the 11, a 41-story condo tower, is rising like a sentinel on the edge of downtown. James Lileks, Star Tribune, 25 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This clinical strategy relies both on infected individuals coming to sentinel hospitals and medical authorities who are influential and persistent enough to raise the alarm. Maureen Miller, The Conversation, 1 June 2021 Expanding Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sentinel surveillance programs and other surveillance programs to offer tests not only to those who ask but also to those who may not know to ask is also on Biden's Plan to Combat Coronavirus. USA Today, 2 Nov. 2020 And there are certain types of events or sentinel events that require a deeper dive before continuing to ensure the safety of current and future participants. Adrian Hernandez, STAT, 14 Oct. 2020 Auburn continues to rely on self-reporting and sentinel testing to keep track of its numbers. Giana Han, al, 22 Sep. 2020 It has been guarded every hour of every day since 1937 by elite Tomb Guard sentinels. Jesse Ryan, USA TODAY, 29 May 2017 When Chinese leaders gaze out toward the Pacific, their panorama is obstructed by a string of military airfields, naval anchorages, radar emplacements and listening posts sentineled by U.S. forces and their allies. Andrew Browne, WSJ, 14 Mar. 2017

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


1579, in the meaning defined above


1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sentinel


Middle French sentinelle, from Old Italian sentinella, from sentina vigilance, from sentire to perceive, from Latin

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About sentinel

Time Traveler for sentinel

Time Traveler

The first known use of sentinel was in 1579

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near sentinel



sentinel crab

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for sentinel

Last Updated

28 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sentinel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sentinel



English Language Learners Definition of sentinel

: sentry


sen·​ti·​nel | \ ˈsen-tə-nəl How to pronounce sentinel (audio) \

Kids Definition of sentinel

: sentry


sen·​ti·​nel | \ ˈsent-ᵊn-əl How to pronounce sentinel (audio) \

Medical Definition of sentinel

: being an individual or part of a population potentially susceptible to an infection or infestation that is being monitored for the appearance or recurrence of the causative pathogen or parasite

More from Merriam-Webster on sentinel

Nglish: Translation of sentinel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sentinel for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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