a watch with a hand or hands that can be stopped or started at any instant, used for precise timing, as in races.

Origin of stopwatch

First recorded in 1730–40; stop + watch Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for stopwatch

Historical Examples of stopwatch

  • He never looked at Natica, nor at the Hartopp; but he tossed me a stopwatch and told me to keep time.

  • The stopwatch which measures every movement in fractions of a second has become the symbol of this new economic period.

  • Come soon to England and bring your automobile, and we will conspire against you with a policeman and a stopwatch.

    A Maker of History

    E. Phillips Oppenheim

  • Suiting action to word, he took up his stopwatch and set the needle swinging.

    The Skylark of Space

    Edward Elmer Smith and Lee Hawkins Garby

  • I don't think I can answer that question accurately, because the time approximation, without a stopwatch, would be difficult.

    Warren Commission (6 of 26): Hearings Vol. VI (of 15)

    The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy

British Dictionary definitions for stopwatch



a type of watch used for timing events, such as sporting events, accurately, having a device for stopping the hand or hands instantly
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 stopwatch

also stop-watch, 1737, from stop (v.) + watch (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper