verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
- a period of time, usually four hours, during which one part of a ship's crew is on duty, taking turns with another part.
- the officers and crew who attend to the working of a ship for an allotted period of time.
- to be cautious.
- to practice discretion or self-restraint.
Origin of watch
Synonyms for watch
Examples from the Web for watching
Contemporary Examples of watching
Watching him now being accused of illegal operations will not see them shedding any tears.Annoying Airport Delays Might Prevent You From Becoming the Next AirAsia 8501
January 6, 2015
It is impossible to calculate the full effect that watching this on television, listening on the radio must have had on Sam.How Martin Luther King Jr. Influenced Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’
December 28, 2014
At the moment, we might as well be watching two different TV shows yolked together.What On Earth Is ‘The Affair’ About? Season One’s Baffling Finale
December 22, 2014
Her mother had a musical theater background, so Malone grew up backstage, watching productions come to fruition.Jena Malone’s Long, Strange Trip From Homelessness to Hollywood Stardom
December 22, 2014
“I was watching ‘Daniel The Tiger’ with my kid and I heard two shots like ‘boom-boom,’” he said.Anger at The Cop Killer - And The Police
December 21, 2014
Historical Examples of watching
He drew back a little, first checking to see if the guard was watching, then he bent down and looked into the jar.The Egyptian Cat Mystery
Harold Leland Goodwin
If our dear captain had been there, would he not have been watching for the daylight as we had been?Yr Ynys Unyg
Julia de Winton
Mrs. Kaye had been watching and waiting for General Lingard since ten o'clock.Jane Oglander
Marie Belloc Lowndes
This is no laughing matter, dear, whispered Ruth, watching the curly-haired boy closely.Ruth Fielding Down in Dixie
Alice B. Emerson
Harvey was watching her, and paid little attention to the news.The Whirlpool
- a small portable timepiece, usually worn strapped to the wrist (a wristwatch) or in a waistcoat pocket
- (as modifier)a watch spring
- any of the usually four-hour periods beginning at midnight and again at noon during which part of a ship's crew are on duty
- those officers and crew on duty during a specified watch
Word Origin for watch
Old English wæcce "a watching," from wæccan (see watch (v.)). Sense of "sentinel" is recorded from c.1300; that of "person or group officially patroling a town (especially at night) to keep order, etc." is first recorded 1530s. Meaning "period of time in which a division of a ship's crew remains on deck" is from 1580s. Sense of "period into which a night was divided in ancient times" translates Latin vigilia, Greek phylake, Hebrew ashmoreth.
The Hebrews divided the night into three watches, the Greeks usually into four (sometimes five), the Romans (followed by the Jews in New Testament times) into four. [OED]
The meaning "small timepiece" is from 1580s, developing from that of "a clock to wake up sleepers" (mid-15c.).
Old English wæccan "keep watch, be awake," from Proto-Germanic *wakojan; essentially the same word as Old English wacian "be or remain awake" (see wake (v.)); perhaps a Northumbrian form. Meaning "be vigilant" is from c.1200. That of "to guard (someone or some place), stand guard" is late 14c. Sense of "to observe, keep under observance" is mid-15c. Related: Watched; watching.
In addition to the idioms beginning with watch
- watched pot never boils, a
- watch it
- watch like a hawk
- watch my dust
- watch one's step
- watch out
- watch over
- keep watch
- look (watch) out
- on the lookout (watch)