Try Our Apps


The Best Internet Slang


[woch-fuh l] /ˈwɒtʃ fəl/
vigilant or alert; closely observant:
The sentry remained watchful throughout the night.
Archaic. wakeful.
Origin of watchful
First recorded in 1540-50; watch + -ful
Related forms
watchfully, adverb
watchfulness, noun
self-watchfulness, noun
unwatchful, adjective
unwatchfully, adverb
unwatchfulness, noun
1. attentive, heedful, careful, circumspect, cautious, wary.
Synonym Study
1. See alert. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for watchfully
Historical Examples
  • They had rounded a bend and Grey was watchfully 21 gazing ahead.

    The Hound From The North Ridgwell Cullum
  • Mihul stood by watchfully while Trigger emptied the tumbler.

    Legacy James H Schmitz
  • He stopped playing, and, hugging his violin closely, regarded her watchfully.

    Phil the Fiddler Horatio Alger, Jr.
  • His mind resumed its composure, and he watchfully waited the return of the slave.

    The Weavers, Complete Gilbert Parker
  • She studied it watchfully, and kept note of all its variations.

  • Bill had been watchfully waiting at his old stand since 3:30 A. M.

    Fish Stories Henry Abbott
  • They perch on some limb overhanging the water and watchfully wait for their dinner.

    Endurance Test

    Alan Douglas
  • But watchfully silent he awaited his enemy's conversational attack.

    A Fascinating Traitor Richard Henry Savage
  • When one does so, the strongest argument for relying cautiously, watchfully, upon Herndon appears.

    Lincoln Nathaniel Wright Stephenson
  • For another half-hour he kept on, moving now as noiselessly as a mink, and watchfully as a wood-mouse.

    The Secret Trails Charles G. D. Roberts
British Dictionary definitions for watchfully


vigilant or alert
(archaic) not sleeping
Derived Forms
watchfully, adverb
watchfulness, noun
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for watchfully



c.1500, waccheful, from watch (v.) + -ful. Related: Watchfulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for watchful

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for watchfully

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for watchfully