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See more synonyms for watchful on Thesaurus.com
  1. vigilant or alert; closely observant: The sentry remained watchful throughout the night.
  2. Archaic. wakeful.
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Origin of watchful

First recorded in 1540–50; watch + -ful
Related formswatch·ful·ly, adverbwatch·ful·ness, nounself-watch·ful·ness, nounun·watch·ful, adjectiveun·watch·ful·ly, adverbun·watch·ful·ness, noun

Synonyms for watchful

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Synonym study

1. See alert.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for watchfully

Historical Examples of watchfully

  • They had rounded a bend and Grey was watchfully 21 gazing ahead.

    The Hound From The North

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • Mihul stood by watchfully while Trigger emptied the tumbler.


    James H Schmitz

  • He stopped playing, and, hugging his violin closely, regarded her watchfully.

    Phil the Fiddler

    Horatio Alger, Jr.

  • His mind resumed its composure, and he watchfully waited the return of the slave.

    The Weavers, Complete

    Gilbert Parker

  • She studied it watchfully, and kept note of all its variations.

British Dictionary definitions for watchfully


  1. vigilant or alert
  2. archaic not sleeping
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Derived Formswatchfully, adverbwatchfulness, noun
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 watchfully



c.1500, waccheful, from watch (v.) + -ful. Related: Watchfulness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper