[ woch-muh n ]
/ ˈwɒtʃ mən /

noun, plural watch·men.

a person who keeps guard over a building at night, to protect it from fire, vandals, or thieves.
(formerly) a person who guards or patrols the streets at night.

Nearby words

  1. watchful,
  2. watchfully,
  3. watchless,
  4. watchlist,
  5. watchmaker,
  6. watchmanly,
  7. watchout,
  8. watchstrap,
  9. watchtower,
  10. watchword

Origin of watchman

late Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at watch, man1

Related formswatch·man·ly, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for watchmen

British Dictionary definitions for watchmen


/ (ˈwɒtʃmən) /

noun plural -men

a person employed to guard buildings or property
(formerly) a man employed to patrol or guard the streets at night
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 watchmen



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.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper