- 1 [countable] a person, such as a soldier, a police officer or a prison officer, who protects a place or people, or prevents prisoners from escaping a security guard border guards The prisoner slipped past the guards on the gate and escaped. A guard was posted outside the building. compare warder see also bodyguard, coastguard, lifeguard See related entries: Prison
- 2[countable + singular or plural verb] a group of people, such as soldiers or police officers, who protect somebody/something the captain of the guard the changing of the guard (= when one group replaces another) The guard is/are being inspected today. Fellow airmen provided a guard of honour at his wedding. The President always travels with an armed guard. see also National Guard, old guard, rearguard
- 3 [uncountable] the act or duty of protecting property, places or people from attack or danger; the act or duty of preventing prisoners from escaping a sentry on guard (= at his or her post, on duty) to do guard duty The escaped prisoner was brought back under armed guard. The terrorist was kept under police guard. One of the men kept guard, while the other broke into the house.
- 4the Guards [plural] (in Britain and some other countries) special regiments of soldiers whose original duty was to protect the king or queen the Scots Guards a Guards officer against injury
- 5[countable] (often in compounds) something that covers a part of a person’s body or a dangerous part of a machine to prevent injury Ensure the guard is in place before operating the machine. see also fireguard, mouthguard, mudguard, safeguard, shin guard on train
- 6[countable] (British English, becoming old-fashioned) = conductor (2) in boxing/fencing
- 7[uncountable] a position you take to defend yourself, especially in a sport such as boxing or fencing to drop/keep up your guard (figurative) In spite of the awkward questions the minister never let his guard fall for a moment. See related entries: Combat sports in basketball
- 8[countable] one of the two players on a basketball team who are mainly responsible for staying close to opposing players to stop them from scoring See related entries: Basketball in American football
- 9[countable] one of the two players on an American football team who play either side of the centre forward See related entries: American football Word Origin late Middle English (in the sense ‘care, custody’): from Old French garde (noun), garder (verb), of West Germanic origin. Compare with ward.Extra examples Fellow soldiers formed a guard of honour/honor at his wedding. Fellow soldiers from Corporal Smith’s regiment formed a guard of honour at his wedding. Guards had been posted all around the TV studio. Guards patrolled the perimeter fence. He arrived under heavy guard. He caught me completely off guard. He was always on his guard against moneymaking schemes. It would only be a matter of minutes before the alarm was raised and the guard called out. Matt relaxed a little, dropping his guard. No one can keep their guard up all the time. Several police officers were on guard outside the factory. Soldiers stood guard on the city gates. The accused was taken to court under armed guard. The building is protected by armed guards. The guard was changed every two hours. The prisoners were under close guard. The question seemed to catch him off his guard. Two police officers kept guard over the burned-out building. Would you like me to keep guard of your room? A group of tourists was watching the changing of the guard outside the palace. He fell asleep on guard duty. One of the men kept guard, while the other broke into the house. She saw the security guards wrestle him to the ground. The President always travels with an armed guard. The border guard checked our papers before waving us through. The escaped prisoner was brought back under armed guard. The suspects were kept under police guard. Two sentries stood on guard.Idioms to be very careful and prepared for something difficult or dangerous to watch or protect somebody/something Four soldiers stood guard over the coffin. not careful or prepared for something difficult or dangerous The lawyer’s apparently innocent question was designed to catch the witness off (his) guard.
people who protect