[woch-dawg, -dog]
See more synonyms for watchdog on
  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of a watchdog.
  2. organized or functioning as a watchful guardian, especially against illegal or unethical conduct: a watchdog group in the legislature.
verb (used with object), watch·dogged, watch·dog·ging.
  1. to watch carefully, especially so as to detect illegal or unethical conduct.

Origin of watchdog

First recorded in 1600–10; watch + dog Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for watchdog

Contemporary Examples of watchdog

Historical Examples of watchdog

  • "Perhaps he feels as if he were our watchdog, Babbie," she said.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • And then the "watchdog" exhibited the first evidence of spirit that it had ever been known to show.

    Cap'n Eri

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • To mention the case of the Montana to this watchdog was dangerous.

  • “Stephen the Watchdog knows me,” said Derette, drawing a long breath.

    One Snowy Night

    Emily Sarah Holt

  • "It wouldn't be a bad thing to have a watchdog," said Henry.

    The Box-Car Children

    Gertrude Chandler Warner

British Dictionary definitions for watchdog


  1. a dog kept to guard property
    1. a person or group of persons that acts as a protector or guardian against inefficiency, illegal practices, etc
    2. (as modifier)a watchdog committee
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 watchdog

c.1600, from watch (v.) + dog (n.). Figurative sense is attested from 1845.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper