night watch



a watch or guard kept during the night.
a person or the persons keeping such a watch.
Usually night watches. the periods or divisions into which the night was divided in ancient times.

Origin of night watch

before 1000; Middle English; Old English
Related formsnight watching, noun

Night Watch, The


a painting (1642) by Rembrandt. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for night-watch

Historical Examples of night-watch

  • So she determined upon the wake, the night-watch of Freya, as the child calls it.


    George Borrow

  • Often in a night-watch did my thoughts recur to Julia Sumner.

    Hurricane Hurry

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • Rise, Jerry, you shall not keep a night-watch for a fortnight.

    The King's Own

    Captain Frederick Marryat

  • He desired the night-watch, who were with him, to wait outside.

  • Since that night-watch at Pine Tree Ranch, he had been a different man.

    The Transformation of Job

    Frederick Vining Fisher

British Dictionary definitions for night-watch

night watch


a watch or guard kept at night, esp for security
the period of time the watch is kept
a person who keeps such a watch; night watchman
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 night-watch

"guard kept during the night," late Old English; see night + watch (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper