Definition of


  1. (noun, act) a purposeful surveillance to guard or observe
  2. (noun, act) the rite of staying awake for devotional purposes (especially on the eve of a religious festival)
  3. (noun, artifact) a small portable timepiece
  4. (noun, person) a person employed to keep watch for some anticipated event
  5. (noun, time) a period of time (4 or 2 hours) during which some of a ship's crew are on duty
  6. (noun, time) the period during which someone (especially a guard) is on duty
  7. (verb, communication) find out, learn, or determine with certainty, usually by making an inquiry or other effort
    See whether it works
    find out if he speaks Russian
    Check whether the train leaves on time
  8. (verb, perception) observe with attention
  9. (verb, perception) observe or determine by looking
  10. (verb, perception) look attentively
  11. (verb, perception) see or watch
    This program will be seen all over the world
    view an exhibition
    Catch a show on Broadway
    see a movie
  12. (verb, perception) be vigilant, be on the lookout or be careful
  13. (verb, social) follow with the eyes or the mind
    The world is watching Sarajevo
    She followed the men with the binoculars

via WordNet, Princeton University

Origin of the word Watch

  1. O.E. w?ccan "keep watch, be awake," from P.Gmc. *wakojan; essentially the same word as O.E. wacian "be or remain awake" (see wake (v.)); perhaps a Northumbrian form. Watchdog is recorded from 1610; fig. sense is attested from 1845. more
  2. O.E. w?cce "a watching," from w?ccan (see watch (v.)). Sense of "sentinel" is recorded from c.1300; that of "person or group officially patroling a town (esp. at night) to keep order, etc." is first recorded 1539. Meaning "period of time in which a division of a ship's crew remains on deck" is from 1585. Sense of "period into which a night was divided in ancient t… more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

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