Definition of watch noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//wɒtʃ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//wɑːtʃ//
    jump to other results
  1. 1  [countable] a type of small clock that you wear on your wrist, or (in the past) carried in your pocket She kept looking anxiously at her watch. My watch is fast/slow. see also stopwatch, wristwatch See related entries: Accessories
  2. 2[singular, uncountable] the act of watching somebody/something carefully in case of possible danger or problems The police have mounted a watch outside the hotel. I'll keep watch while you go through his papers (= watch and warn you if somebody is coming). The government is keeping a close watch on how the situation develops. see also neighbourhood watch
  3. 3[countable, uncountable] a fixed period of time, usually while other people are asleep, during which somebody watches for any danger so that they can warn others, for example on a ship; the person or people who do this I'm on first watch. I go on watch in an hour. see also nightwatchman
  4. Word OriginOld English wæcce ‘watchfulness’, wæccende ‘remaining awake’; related to the verb wake. The sense ‘small timepiece’ probably developed by way of a sense ‘alarm device attached to a clock’.Extra examples Don’t forget to set your watch to local time. Her wrist watch beeped. I kept a close watch on my bag as I sat on the train. Let’s synchronize our watches. My watch is ten years old and it’s still going. My watch loses a minute each day. My watch says three o’clock. Quartz watches don’t need winding. She keeps watch over the inmates. Some of the crew were sleeping, while others were on watch. Sorry I’m late—my watch has stopped. That night they posted watches. The authorities maintained a careful watch over the establishment. The garrison commander had put an extra watch on the prisoners. They kept a vigilant watch for the enemy. They’re in charge of issuing the tornado watches. Two soldiers were ordered to keep watch for enemy aircraft. We have tornado watches in effect for a lot of Florida. We put our watches forward eight hours before landing in Tokyo. prisoners on suicide watch the terrorist watch list Go in and see if you can find it in his study. I’ll keep watch for you.Idioms
    be on the watch (for somebody/something)
    jump to other results
    to be looking carefully for somebody/something that you expect to see, especially in order to avoid possible danger Be on the watch for thieves.
    keep a close eye/watch on somebody/something
    jump to other results
    to watch somebody/something carefully Over the next few months we will keep a close eye on sales.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: watch