[ gahrd ]
See synonyms for: guardguardedguardingguards on

verb (used with object)
  1. to keep safe from harm or danger; protect; watch over: to guard the ruler.

  2. to keep under close watch in order to prevent escape, misconduct, etc.: to guard a prisoner.

  1. to keep under control or restraint as a matter of caution or prudence: to guard one's temper.

  2. to provide or equip with some safeguard or protective appliance, as to prevent loss, injury, etc.

  3. Sports. to position oneself so as to obstruct or impede the movement or progress of (an opponent on offense): The linebacker moved to his right to guard the end going out for a pass.

  4. Chess. to protect (a piece or a square) by placing a piece in a supportive or defensive position relative to it.

verb (used without object)
  1. to take precautions (usually followed by against): to guard against errors.

  2. to give protection; keep watch; be watchful.

  1. a person or group of persons that guards, protects, or keeps a protective or restraining watch.

  2. a person who keeps watch over prisoners or others under restraint.

  1. a body of people, especially soldiers, charged with guarding a place from disturbance, theft, fire, etc.

  2. a close watch, as over a prisoner or other person under restraint: to be kept under guard.

  3. a device, appliance, or attachment that prevents injury, loss, etc.

  4. something intended or serving to guard or protect; safeguard: insurance as a guard against disasters.

  5. a posture of defense or readiness, as in fencing, boxing, or bayonet drill.

  6. Football.

    • either of the linemen stationed between a tackle and the center.

    • the position played by this lineman.

  7. Basketball. either of the players stationed in the backcourt.

  8. Chess. a piece that supports or defends another.

  9. Cards. a low card that is held with a high card of the same suit and that enables the holder to save the high card for a later trick.

  10. British. a railroad conductor.

  11. Guards, the name of certain bodies of troops in the British army.

Idioms about guard

  1. off guard, unprepared; unwary: The blow from behind caught him off guard.: Also off one's guard.

  2. on guard, vigilant; wary: on guard against dishonest merchants.: Also on one's guard.

  1. stand guard over, to watch over; protect: The dog stood guard over his wounded master.

Origin of guard

1375–1425; late Middle English garde guardianship <Old French g(u)arde, noun derivative of g(u)arder (v.) <Germanic; see ward

synonym study For guard

1. See defend.

Other words for guard

Opposites for guard

Other words from guard

  • guard·a·ble, adjective
  • guarder, noun
  • guardless, adjective
  • guardlike, adjective
  • pre·guard, verb (used with object)
  • self-guard, noun
  • un·der·guard, noun
  • un·guard·a·ble, adjective

Words Nearby guard Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use guard in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for guard


/ (ɡɑːd) /

  1. to watch over or shield (a person or thing) from danger or harm; protect

  2. to keep watch over (a prisoner or other potentially dangerous person or thing), as to prevent escape

  1. (tr) to control: to guard one's tongue

  2. (intr usually foll by against) to take precautions

  3. to control entrance and exit through (a gate, door, etc)

  4. (tr) to provide (machinery, etc) with a device to protect the operator

  5. (tr)

    • chess cards to protect or cover (a chess man or card) with another

    • curling bowls to protect or cover (a stone or bowl) by placing one's own stone or bowl between it and another player

  6. (tr) archaic to accompany as a guard

  1. a person or group who keeps a protecting, supervising, or restraining watch or control over people, such as prisoners, things, etc: Related adjective: custodial

  2. a person or group of people, such as soldiers, who form a ceremonial escort: guard of honour

  1. British the official in charge of a train

    • the act or duty of protecting, restraining, or supervising

    • (as modifier): guard duty

  2. Irish another word for garda

  3. a device, part, or attachment on an object, such as a weapon or machine tool, designed to protect the user against injury, as on the hilt of a sword or the trigger of a firearm

  4. anything that provides or is intended to provide protection: a guard against infection

    • another name for safety chain

    • a long neck chain often holding a chatelaine

  5. sport an article of light tough material worn to protect any of various parts of the body

  6. basketball

    • the position of the two players in a team who play furthest from the basket

    • a player in this position

  7. the posture of defence or readiness in fencing, boxing, cricket, etc

  8. take guard cricket (of a batsman) to choose a position in front of the wicket to receive the bowling, esp by requesting the umpire to indicate his position relative to the stumps

  9. give guard cricket (of an umpire) to indicate such a position to a batsman

  10. off one's guard having one's defences down; unprepared

  11. on one's guard prepared to face danger, difficulties, etc

  12. stand guard (of a military sentry, etc) to keep watch

  13. mount guard

    • (of a sentry) to begin to keep watch

    • (with over) to take up a protective or defensive stance (over something)

Origin of guard

C15: from Old French garde, from garder to protect, of Germanic origin; compare Spanish guardar; see ward

Derived forms of guard

  • guardable, adjective
  • guarder, noun
  • guardless, adjective
  • guardlike, adjective

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with guard


see off guard; stand guard.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.