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watchdog

[woch-dawg, -dog]
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noun
  1. a dog kept to guard property.
  2. a watchful guardian: a self-appointed watchdog of the public morals.
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adjective
  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.
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verb (used with object), watch·dogged, watch·dog·ging.
  1. to watch carefully, especially so as to detect illegal or unethical conduct.
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Origin of watchdog

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

Related Words

auditorcaretakeradministratorsuperintendentcuratorstewardwardenoverseerkeepersupervisorprotectorwatchdogadviserinformantlistenerdirectorcounselorguideinvigilatorbodyguard

Examples from the Web for watchdog

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

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

    Shavings

    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

watchdog

noun
  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
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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

n.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper