[ woch-wurd ]
/ ˈwɒtʃˌwɜrd /


a word or short phrase to be communicated, on challenge, to a sentinel or guard; password or countersign.
a word or phrase expressive of a principle or rule of action; slogan: Conservation has been our watchword.
a rallying cry of a party, club, team, etc.

Origin of watchword

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at watch, word Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for watchword

British Dictionary definitions for watchword


/ (ˈwɒtʃˌwɜːd) /


another word for password
a rallying cry or slogan
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 watchword



also watch-word, c.1400, "password," from watch (n.) in the military sense of "period of standing guard duty" + word (n.). In the sense of "motto, slogan" it dates from 1738.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper