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[sen-tn-l] /ˈsɛn tn l/
a person or thing that watches or stands as if watching.
a soldier stationed as a guard to challenge all comers and prevent a surprise attack:
to stand sentinel.
Digital Technology. tag1 (def 9a).
verb (used with object), sentineled, sentineling or (especially British) sentinelled, sentinelling.
to watch over or guard as a sentinel.
Origin of sentinel
1570-80; < Middle French sentinelle < Italian sentinella, derivative of Old Italian sentina vigilance (Latin sent(īre) to observe) + -īna -ine2)
Related forms
sentinellike, adjective
sentinelship, noun
unsentineled, adjective
unsentinelled, adjective
1, 2. sentry, guard, watch, lookout. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sentinel
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Like a sentinel on that solitary plain it overwhelms me with a sense of mystery.

    Ballads of a Bohemian Robert W. Service
  • After that, we were allowed to come on deck singly, only, and then under a sentinel's charge.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • Neither of the lads so much as glanced at the sentinel as they strolled past him.

    The Cruise of the Dry Dock T. S. Stribling
  • He did not care, now, if he were halted by a British picket or sentinel.

    The Dare Boys of 1776 Stephen Angus Cox
  • This would be difficult, for the reason that there was a sentinel on the deck.

    The Dare Boys of 1776 Stephen Angus Cox
British Dictionary definitions for sentinel


a person, such as a sentry, assigned to keep guard
(computing) a character used to indicate the beginning or end of a particular block of information
verb (transitive) -nels, -nelling, -nelled
to guard as a sentinel
to post as a sentinel
to provide with a sentinel
Word Origin
C16: from Old French sentinelle, from Old Italian sentinella, from sentina watchfulness, from sentire to notice, from Latin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sentinel

1570s, from Middle French sentinelle (16c.), from Italian sentinella "a sentinel." OED says "No convincing etymology of the It. word has been proposed," but perhaps (via a notion of "perceive, watch"), from sentire "to hear," from Latin sentire "feel, perceive by the senses" (see sense (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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