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90s Slang You Should Know


[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.
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Examples from the Web for watchfully
Historical Examples
  • He looked at her with a watchfully suspicious eye; he spoke to her, without preface or apology, in a coldly angry voice.

    The New Magdalen Wilkie Collins
  • Mihul stood by watchfully while Trigger emptied the tumbler.

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

    Phil the Fiddler Horatio Alger, Jr.
  • I hazarded, in a quiet interval when we were watchfully waiting for something to turn up, or rather come up.

    Sea-Hounds Lewis R. Freeman
  • His mind resumed its composure, and he watchfully waited the return of the slave.

    The Weavers, Complete Gilbert Parker
  • As we passed the spot where we had seen the tiger disappear, our ranks were closed up, and we went on watchfully.

    Gil the Gunner George Manville Fenn
  • She studied it watchfully, and kept note of all its variations.

  • Both the British and American squadrons were watchfully protecting the commerce of their respective countries.

  • To be sure, there is a host of spurious automatists, against whom one cannot be too watchfully on guard.

    Adventurings in the Psychical H. Addington Bruce
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
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Word Origin and History for watchfully



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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