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watchman

[woch-muh n]
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noun, plural watch·men.
  1. a person who keeps guard over a building at night, to protect it from fire, vandals, or thieves.
  2. (formerly) a person who guards or patrols the streets at night.
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Origin of watchman

late Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at watch, man1
Related formswatch·man·ly, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for watchman

caretaker, patrolman, warden, custodian, policeman, lookout, detective, patrol, observer, picket, ranger, sentry, watch, curator, watcher, spy, keeper, guard, scout, sentinel

Examples from the Web for watchman

Contemporary Examples of watchman

Historical Examples of watchman

  • "Aye, it is the steel head-piece of the watchman," remarked the archer.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • The old night watchman had a way of slipping up on one nodding.

    K

    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Far down at the other end of the gallery they could hear the watchman coming.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • The boys found the night watchman, who had just come on duty.

  • And a watchman also came and reported that the Triton had been slain by a boy.


British Dictionary definitions for watchman

watchman

noun plural -men
  1. a person employed to guard buildings or property
  2. (formerly) a man employed to patrol or guard the streets at night
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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 watchman

n.

also watch-man, c.1400, "guard, sentinel, lookout" (late 12c. as a surname), figuratively "guardian, protector" (mid-15c.), from watch (n.) + man (n.). Also "person characterized by wakefulness" (mid-15c.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper