Definition of watch

close, continuous observation for the purpose of seeing or discovering something: Their watch for the birds was unrewarding.

vigilant guard, as for protection or restraint: to keep watch for prowlers.

a keeping awake for some special purpose: a watch beside a sickbed.

a period of time for watching or keeping guard: to stand the first watch.

a small, portable timepiece, as a wrist watch or pocket watch.


  1. a period of time, usually four hours, during which one part of a ship’s crew is on duty, taking turns with another part.
  2. the officers and crew who attend to the working of a ship for an allotted period of time.

one of the periods, usually three or four, into which the night was divided in ancient times, as by the Greeks or Hebrews: the fourth watch of the night.

a person or group that watches, as a lookout, guard, or sentinel: A watch was posted at sunset.

Also called storm watch. Meteorology. an announcement from the U.S. National Weather Service alerting the public that dangerous weather conditions are a possibility and that vigilance and precautionary preparations are advised: hurricane watch;tornado watch.Compare advisory (def. 5), warning (def. 3).

a flock of nightingales.


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