noun, plural sen·tries.

a soldier stationed at a place to stand guard and prevent the passage of unauthorized persons, watch for fires, etc., especially a sentinel stationed at a pass, gate, opening in a defense work, or the like.
a member of a guard or watch.

Origin of sentry

1605–15; short for sentrinel, variant of sentinel Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for sentries

sentinel, guard

Examples from the Web for sentries

Historical Examples of sentries

  • When I stepped through the gate, I could see the sentries asleep in their guard-rooms.

  • I walked up along the line and had talks with some of the sentries.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • Only the long, slow moving line of the figures of sentries was to be seen.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • Then I saw that along the edge there were sentries set at intervals.

    Things as They Are

    Amy Wilson-Carmichael

  • Make one for a straight trail to the border, and all sentries asleep!

    The Treasure Trail

    Marah Ellis Ryan

British Dictionary definitions for sentries


noun plural -tries

a soldier who guards or prevents unauthorized access to a place, keeps watch for danger, etc
the watch kept by a sentry

Word Origin for sentry

C17: perhaps shortened from obsolete centrinel, C16 variant of sentinel
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 sentries



1610s, originally "watchtower;" perhaps a shortened variant of sentinel, which had a variant form centrinel (1590s); or perhaps worn down from sanctuary, on notion of "shelter for a watchman." Meaning "military guard posted around a camp" is first attested 1630s. Sentry-box is from 1728.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper