\ 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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The movie is no longer in theaters, so here's how to watch it at home. Maggie Horton, Country Living, 24 June 2022 More on hair care: Now watch this wash-day routine for detangling and dermatitis: Follow Allure on Instagram and Twitter, or subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on all things beauty. Jolene Edgar, Allure, 24 June 2022 Instead, go for a walk, watch The Barefoot Contessa, read a romance novel. Kathleen Walsh, Glamour, 24 June 2022 Here's how to watch the event, which will include two rounds and 58 picks. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 23 June 2022 Palos Verdes Peninsula and Orange County viewers can watch on Cox Systems on channel 99. Martin Draluck, Los Angeles Times, 23 June 2022 With the unique flavors and new players joining the market, Japanese gin is something fun to watch right now. Akiko Katayama, Forbes, 21 June 2022 William Sawalich is a pleasant and wise-beyond-his years 15-year-old from Minnesota on that star trajectory that could be fun to watch for decades to come. Dave Kallmann, Journal Sentinel, 19 June 2022 With questions surrounding how he would be received in his debut back on American soil since committing to play in the LIV Series, Mickelson was the player to watch heading into the week. Jayna Bardahl,, 17 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Russia is trying to keep the Ukrainians on watch in all those regions. New York Times, 14 June 2022 Officials will get into trouble if COVID breaks out on their watch, so they are motivated to be as strict as possible. Michael Schuman, The Atlantic, 14 June 2022 Even Apple's trying to find ways through RFID chips in their watch to get readings. Stephen Key, Forbes, 8 June 2022 Soon, it could be inaugurated on her watch thanks to years of relentless advocacy -- and a stroke of luck. Devin Dwyer, ABC News, 7 June 2022 That’s on Biden (to whatever extent presidents are responsible for how the economy performs on their watch). Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 2 June 2022 Other industry watchers, however, stressed the negative impacts from Facebook that emerged during her watch and pointed the finger at her for not doing more to prevent them. Catherine Thorbecke, CNN, 2 June 2022 More selective-enrollment high schools were built, and magnet and charter schools opened in greater numbers on his watch, with students often moving out of traditional neighborhood schools. Gregory Pratt, Chicago Tribune, 1 June 2022 Set the timer on your watch or phone for 60 seconds. Fred Bowen, Washington Post, 26 May 2022 See More

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.

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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The first known use of watch was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

27 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Watch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for watch


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on watch

Nglish: Translation of watch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of watch for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about watch


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