• synonyms


[woch-dawg, -dog]
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  1. a dog kept to guard property.
  2. a watchful guardian: a self-appointed watchdog of the public morals.
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  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of a watchdog.
  2. organized or functioning as a watchful guardian, especially against illegal or unethical conduct: a watchdog group in the legislature.
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verb (used with object), watch·dogged, watch·dog·ging.
  1. to watch carefully, especially so as to detect illegal or unethical conduct.
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Origin of watchdog

First recorded in 1600–10; watch + dog
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for watchdogging


  1. a dog kept to guard property
    1. a person or group of persons that acts as a protector or guardian against inefficiency, illegal practices, etc
    2. (as modifier)a watchdog committee
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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

Word Origin and History for watchdogging



c.1600, from watch (v.) + dog (n.). Figurative sense is attested from 1845.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper