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This page has 20 definitions of watch in English. Watch is a noun and verb. Examples of how to use watch in a sentence are shown. Also define these 32 related words and terms: portable, wearable, timepiece, time, guard, dead sleep, morning sleep, nautical, period, duty, tend, working, vessel, transitive, intransitive, look, see, view, observe, notice, attention, mind, attend, wary, cautious, awake, vigil, vigilant, on one's guard, lookout, buoy, and watchman.


A pocketwatch (timepiece)
A wristwatch (timepiece)


Etymology 1

As a noun, from Middle English wacche, from Old English wæċċe. See below for verb form.


watch (plural watches)

  1. A portable or wearable timepiece.
    More people today carry a watch on their wrists than in their pockets.
    • Wearable definition
      Able to be worn.
  2. The act of guarding and observing someone or something.
  3. A particular time period when guarding is kept.
    The second watch of the night began at midnight.
  4. A period of wakefulness between the two sleeps of a biphasic sleep pattern (the dead sleep or first sleep and morning sleep or second sleep): the first waking.
    • Morning Sleep definition
      The second sleep of the night in a biphasic sleep pattern, after the watch.
  5. A person or group of people who guard.
    The watch stopped the travelers at the city gates.
  6. The post or office of a watchman; also, the place where a watchman is posted, or where a guard is kept.
  7. (nautical) A group of sailors and officers aboard a ship or shore station with a common period of duty: starboard watch, port watch.
  8. (nautical) A period of time on duty, usually four hours in length; the officers and crew who tend the working of a vessel during the same watch. (FM 55–501).
  9. The act of seeing, or viewing, for a period of time.
    • 2004, Charles P. Nemeth, Criminal law:
      A quick watch of Stanley Kubrick's Clockwork Orange sends this reality home fast. Amoral, vacuous, cold-blooded, unsympathetic, and chillingly evil describe only parts of the story.
    • 2016, Andrew Bullock, David Brent REVIEW: Life on the Road goes from painfully funny to just plain painful. Ouch (in Sunday Express, 11 August)
      The first third of the film is laugh after laugh; [] But half an hour in and this movie gets unnervingly dark and is an uncomfortable watch at times.
Derived terms
Terms derived from the noun “watch”
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Etymology 2

From Middle English wacchen, from Old English wæċċan, from Proto-West Germanic *wakkjan, from Proto-Germanic *wakjaną.


watch (third-person singular simple present watches, present participle watching, simple past and past participle watched)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To look at, see, or view for a period of time.
    Watching the clock will not make time go faster.
    I'm tired of watching TV.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter X, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 4293071:
      It was a joy to snatch some brief respite, and find himself in the rectory drawing–room. Listening here was as pleasant as talking; just to watch was pleasant. The young priests who lived here wore cassocks and birettas; their faces were fine and mild, yet really strong, like the rector's face; and in their intercourse with him and his wife they seemed to be brothers.
  2. (transitive) To observe over a period of time; to notice or pay attention.
    Watch this!
    Put a little baking soda in some vinegar and watch what happens.
  3. (transitive) To mind, attend, or guard.
    Please watch my suitcase for a minute.
    He has to watch the kids that afternoon.
    • 1899, Stephen Crane, chapter 1, in Twelve O'Clock:
      [] (it was the town's humour to be always gassing of phantom investors who were likely to come any moment and pay a thousand prices for everything) — “ [] Them rich fellers, they don't make no bad breaks with their money. They watch it all th' time b'cause they know blame well there ain't hardly room fer their feet fer th' pikers an' tin-horns an' thimble-riggers what are layin' fer 'em.  []
  4. (transitive) To be wary or cautious of.
    You should watch that guy. He has a reputation for lying.
  5. (transitive) To attend to dangers to or regarding.
    watch your head; watch your step
    Watch yourself when you talk to him.
    Watch what you say.
  6. (intransitive) To remain awake with a sick or dying person; to maintain a vigil.
  7. (intransitive) To be vigilant or on one's guard.
    For some must watch, while some must sleep: So runs the world away.
  8. (intransitive) To act as a lookout.
  9. (nautical, of a buoy) To serve the purpose of a watchman by floating properly in its place.
    • Watchman definition
      One set to watch; a person who keeps guard, especially one who guards a building, or the streets of a city, by night.
  10. (obsolete, intransitive) To be awake.
    • 1485, Thomas Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur, Book X:
      So on the morne Sir Trystram, Sir Gareth and Sir Dynadan arose early and went unto Sir Palomydes chambir, and there they founde hym faste aslepe, for he had all nyght wacched []
  11. (transitive, obsolete) To be on the lookout for; to wait for expectantly.
    • 1789, John Moore, Zeluco, Valancourt 2008, p. 80:
      [S]he had reason to dread that her husband had formed a very criminal project of being revenged on Zeluco, and watched an opportunity of putting it in execution.
Usage notes
  • When used transitively to mean look at something, there is an implication that the direct object is something which is capable of changing.
Derived terms
Terms derived from the verb "watch"
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also