• 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.
  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.
verb (used with object), watch·dogged, watch·dog·ging.
  1. to watch carefully, especially so as to detect illegal or unethical conduct.

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
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper