\ 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Off the ice, given the Jack Eichel saga, the Sabres are a must-watch. Mary Clarke, USA TODAY, 12 Oct. 2021 Just 34 seats are open for the public, and when those are filled, spectators are directed to an overflow room one floor down, where around 50 people squeeze in to watch the trial on large monitors. New York Times, 11 Oct. 2021 For now, Pollock hopes people will watch the documentary to learn about the facts of the case and decide on their own whether Kendrick was a victim of an accident or a crime. Elaine Aradillas,, 11 Oct. 2021 While Oregon is clearly a team to watch going forward, Michigan has also recently entered the battle for his services, extending a scholarship offer in mid-August. oregonlive, 11 Oct. 2021 That performance established the youngster as a prospect to watch. Chris Hays,, 11 Oct. 2021 Team officials estimated that about 1,000 fans filled the stands inside Hill Field House to watch the Wizards train, and the first 500 were rewarded with a free T-shirt. Edward Lee,, 11 Oct. 2021 The battle of centralization and decentralization will be one to watch for many years to come. Kenneth Rapoza, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 Gathering to play or watch football this year brings positive feelings, especially after the 2020 season got cut short. Alixel Cabrera, The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This year marks the 20th anniversary of what some in the watch industry call the Watch Academy Awards. Roberta Naas, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 Almost all of the state was under a severe thunderstorm watch until 8 p.m. Tuesday. Brieanna J. Frank, The Arizona Republic, 6 Oct. 2021 The report released Tuesday found that murders occurred even when perpetrators were under the watch of the courts. Anne Saker, The Enquirer, 5 Oct. 2021 The counties in the watch are Baldwin, Butler, Clarke, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw, Escambia, Monroe and Wilcox. Leigh Morgan, al, 4 Oct. 2021 Under the watch of a ceremonial honor guard, the bride walked slowly down the aisle as a flock of young attendants held her 23-foot train aloft. Valerie Hopkins, New York Times, 1 Oct. 2021 The island, which is under a tropical storm watch, is expected to be spared a direct hit from Sam. Chris Perkins,, 1 Oct. 2021 Under the watch of coach Ken Niumatalolo, the Mids are 81-35 when winning the time of possession. Jason Beede,, 1 Oct. 2021 Under Merkel’s watch, Germany’s become known as the European Union’s de facto leader, and the chancellor will likely be remembered as a pragmatic leader with an ability to keep her job by striking political compromises. Paul Steinhauser, Fox News, 25 Sep. 2021

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.

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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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Time Traveler for watch

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near watch




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Last Updated

13 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Watch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for watch



English Language Learners Definition of watch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to look at (someone or something) for an amount of time and pay attention to what is happening
: to give your attention to (a situation, an event, etc.)
: to care for (someone or something) for a period of time in order to make sure that nothing bad or unwanted happens



English Language Learners Definition of watch (Entry 2 of 2)

: a device that shows what time it is and that you wear on your wrist or carry in a pocket
: the act of giving your attention to someone or something especially in order to make sure that nothing bad or unwanted happens
: the act of looking for someone or something that you expect to see : the act of regularly checking to see if someone has arrived or if something has appeared or happened


\ 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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