- to be alertly on the lookout, look attentively, or observe, as to see what comes, is done, or happens: to watch while an experiment is performed.
- to look or wait attentively and expectantly (usually followed by for): to watch for a signal; to watch for an opportunity.
- to be careful or cautious: Watch when you cross the street.
- to keep awake, especially for a purpose; remain vigilant, as for protection or safekeeping: to watch with a sick person.
- to keep vigil, as for devotional purposes.
- to keep guard: She was assigned to watch at the door.
- to keep under attentive view or observation, as in order to see or learn something; view attentively or with interest: to watch a play; to watch a football game.
- to contemplate or regard mentally: to watch his progress.
- to look or wait attentively and expectantly for: to watch one's opportunity.
- to guard, tend, or oversee, especially for protection or safekeeping: to watch the baby.
- close, continuous observation for the purpose of seeing or discovering something: Their watch for the birds was unrewarding.
- vigilant guard, as for protection or restraint: to keep watch for prowlers.
- a keeping awake for some special purpose: a watch beside a sickbed.
- a period of time for watching or keeping guard: to stand the first watch.
- a small, portable timepiece, as a wrist watch or pocket watch.
- a chronometer.
- a period of time, usually four hours, during which one part of a ship's crew is on duty, taking turns with another part.
- the officers and crew who attend to the working of a ship for an allotted period of time.
- one of the periods, usually three or four, into which the night was divided in ancient times, as by the Greeks or Hebrews: the fourth watch of the night.
- a person or group that watches, as a lookout, guard, or sentinel: A watch was posted at sunset.
- Also called storm watch. Meteorology. an announcement from the U.S. National Weather Service alerting the public that dangerous weather conditions are a possibility and that vigilance and precautionary preparations are advised: hurricane watch, tornado watch.Compare advisory(def 5), warning(def 3).
- a flock of nightingales.
- watch out, to be on one's guard; be cautious: Watch out for cars when you cross the road.
- watch over, to guard for protection or safekeeping: She watched over us like a mother hen over her brood.
- on the watch, vigilant; alert: The hunter was on the watch for game.
- watch oneself,
- to be cautious.
- to practice discretion or self-restraint.
Origin of watch
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- to look at or observe closely or attentively
- (intr foll by for) to wait attentively or expectantly
- to guard or tend (something) closely or carefully
- (intr) to keep vigil
- (tr) to maintain an interest into watch the progress of a child at school
- watch it! be careful! look out!
- a small portable timepiece, usually worn strapped to the wrist (a wristwatch) or in a waistcoat pocket
- (as modifier)a watch spring
- the act or an instance of watching
- a period of vigil, esp during the night
- (formerly) one of a set of periods of any of various lengths into which the night was divided
- any of the usually four-hour periods beginning at midnight and again at noon during which part of a ship's crew are on duty
- those officers and crew on duty during a specified watch
- the period during which a guard is on duty
- (formerly) a watchman or band of watchmen
- on the watch on the lookout; alert
Word Origin and History for watch over
Old English wæcce "a watching," from wæccan (see watch (v.)). Sense of "sentinel" is recorded from c.1300; that of "person or group officially patroling a town (especially at night) to keep order, etc." is first recorded 1530s. Meaning "period of time in which a division of a ship's crew remains on deck" is from 1580s. Sense of "period into which a night was divided in ancient times" translates Latin vigilia, Greek phylake, Hebrew ashmoreth.
The Hebrews divided the night into three watches, the Greeks usually into four (sometimes five), the Romans (followed by the Jews in New Testament times) into four. [OED]
The meaning "small timepiece" is from 1580s, developing from that of "a clock to wake up sleepers" (mid-15c.).
Old English wæccan "keep watch, be awake," from Proto-Germanic *wakojan; essentially the same word as Old English wacian "be or remain awake" (see wake (v.)); perhaps a Northumbrian form. Meaning "be vigilant" is from c.1200. That of "to guard (someone or some place), stand guard" is late 14c. Sense of "to observe, keep under observance" is mid-15c. Related: Watched; watching.
Idioms and Phrases with watch over
Guard for protection or safekeeping, as in There were only two aides watching over that large group of children. This idiom was first recorded in 1526.