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[sen-tree] /ˈsɛn tri/
noun, plural sentries.
a soldier stationed at a place to stand guard and prevent the passage of unauthorized persons, watch for fires, etc., especially a sentinel stationed at a pass, gate, opening in a defense work, or the like.
a member of a guard or watch.
Origin of sentry
1605-15; short for sentrinel, variant of sentinel Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sentries
Historical Examples
  • When I stepped through the gate, I could see the sentries asleep in their guard-rooms.

  • I walked up along the line and had talks with some of the sentries.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • Only the long, slow moving line of the figures of sentries was to be seen.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • Then I saw that along the edge there were sentries set at intervals.

    Things as They Are Amy Wilson-Carmichael
  • Make one for a straight trail to the border, and all sentries asleep!

    The Treasure Trail Marah Ellis Ryan
  • True, the accident had occurred at dawn, when every one but the sentries was asleep.

    The Destroyer Burton Egbert Stevenson
  • The sergeant of the guard, probably all of the other sentries are dead.

    The Whispering Spheres Russell Robert Winterbotham
  • We are to have sixty blue-jackets and five marines for sentries, and so on.

    At Aboukir and Acre George Alfred Henty
  • The sentries were distrustfully scrutinized, but not a soldier was armed.

  • Tells a story or two about sentries, one of which at least is intended to thrill.

    From a Terrace in Prague Lieut.-Col. B. Granville Baker
British Dictionary definitions for sentries


noun (pl) -tries
a soldier who guards or prevents unauthorized access to a place, keeps watch for danger, etc
the watch kept by a sentry
Word Origin
C17: perhaps shortened from obsolete centrinel, C16 variant of sentinel
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 sentries



1610s, originally "watchtower;" perhaps a shortened variant of sentinel, which had a variant form centrinel (1590s); or perhaps worn down from sanctuary, on notion of "shelter for a watchman." Meaning "military guard posted around a camp" is first attested 1630s. Sentry-box is from 1728.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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