American English

Definition of watch verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they watch
    he / she / it watches
    past simple watched
    -ing form watching
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  1. 1[transitive, intransitive] to look at someone or something for a time, paying attention to what happens watch somebody/something to watch television/a football game watch something for something He watched the house for signs of activity. watch (for something) He watched for signs of activity in the house. “Would you like to play?” “No thanks—I'll just watch.” She stood and watched as the taxi drove off. We watched to see what would happen next. watch what, how, etc… Watch what I do, then you try. watch somebody/something doing something She watched the kids playing in the yard. watch somebody/something do something They watched the bus disappear into the distance. Thesauruslookglance gaze stare glimpse glareThese are all words for an act of looking, when you turn your eyes in a particular direction.look an act of looking at someone or something:Here, take a look at this.glance a quick look:She stole a glance at her watch.gaze a long steady look at someone or something:He felt embarrassed under her steady gaze.stare a long look at someone or something, especially in a way that is unfriendly or that shows surprise:She gave the officer a blank stare and shrugged her shoulders.glimpse a look at someone or something for a very short time, when you do not see the person or thing completely:He caught a glimpse of her in the crowd.glare a long angry look at someone or something:She gave her questioner a hostile glare.Patterns a look/glance at somebody/something a penetrating/piercing look/glance/gaze/stare a long look/glance/stare a brief look/glance/glimpse to have/get/take a look/glance/glimpse to avoid somebody's glance/gaze/stare
  2. 2[transitive] watch somebody/something (for somebody) to take care of someone or something for a short time Could you watch my bags for me while I buy a paper?
  3. 3[transitive] (informal) to be careful about something watch something/yourself Watch yourself (= be careful, because you are in a dangerous situation)! Watch your bag—there are thieves around. I have to watch every penny (= be careful what I spend). Watch your head on the low ceiling. watch where, what, etc… Hey, watch where you're going!
  4. Thesauruslookwatch see view observeThese words all mean to turn your eyes in a particular direction.look to turn your eyes in a particular direction:If you look carefully, you can just see our house from here. She looked at me and to look at someone or something for a time, paying attention to what happens:to watch television Watch what I do, then you try.see to watch a game, television program, performance, etc:In the evening we went to see a movie.view (formal) to look at something, especially when you look carefully; to watch television, a movie, etc:People came from all over the world to view her, see, or view?You can see/view a movie/program/show but you cannot:see/view television. View is more formal than see and is used especially in business contexts.observe (formal) to watch someone or something carefully, especially to learn more about them or it:The patients were observed over a period of several months.Patterns to look/watch for somebody/something to watch/observe what/who/how… to look (at)/watch/view/observe (somebody/something) with amazement/surprise/disapproval, etc. to watch/see/view a movie/show/program to watch/see a game/fight/match to look (at somebody/something)/watch (somebody/something)/observe somebody/something carefully/closelyIdioms
    watch the clock (disapproving)
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    to be careful not to work longer than the required time; to think more about when your work will finish than about the work itself
    a watched pot never boils (saying)
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    used to say that when you are impatient for something to happen, time seems to pass very slowly
    watch it (informal)
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    used as a warning to someone to be careful
    watch your language/mouth/tongue
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    to be careful what you say in order not to offend someone or make them angry Watch your language, young man!
      watch your step
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    1. 1to walk carefully
    2. 2to behave in a careful and sensible way You'd better watch your step with him if you don't want trouble.
    watch this space (informal)
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    used in orders, to tell someone to wait for more news about something to be announced I can't tell you any more right now, but watch this space.
    watch the time
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    to be sure that you know what the time is, so that you finish something at the correct time, or are not late for something I'll have to watch the time. I need to leave early today.
    watch the world go by
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    to relax and watch people in a public place We sat outside a café, watching the world go by.
    Phrasal Verbswatch for somebody/somethingwatch outwatch out for somebody/somethingwatch over somebody/something
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: watch