- v. & n.
1 tr. keep the eyes fixed on; look at attentively.
2 tr. a keep under observation; follow observantly. b monitor or consider carefully; pay attention to (have to watch my weight; watched their progress with interest).
3 intr. (often foll. by for) be in an alert state; be vigilant; take heed (watch for the holes in the road; watch for an opportunity).
4 intr. (foll. by over) look after; take care of.
5 intr. archaic remain awake for devotions etc.
1 a small portable timepiece for carrying on one's person.
2 a state of alert or constant observation or attention.
3 Naut. a a four-hour spell of duty. b (in full starboard or port watch) each of the halves, divided according to the position of the bunks, into which a ship's crew is divided to take alternate watches.
4 hist. a watchman or group of watchmen, esp. patrolling the streets at night.
5 a former division of the night.
6 a period of wakefulness at night.
7 hist. irregular Highland troops in the 18th c.
Phrases and idioms:
on the watch waiting for an expected or feared occurrence. set the watch Naut. station sentinels etc. watch-case the outer metal case enclosing the works of a watch. watch-chain a metal chain for securing a pocket-watch. Watch Committee hist. (in the UK) the committee of a county borough council dealing with policing etc. watch-glass
1 a glass disc covering the dial of a watch.
2 a similar disc used in a laboratory etc. to hold material for use in experiments. watching brief see BRIEF. watch it (or oneself) colloq. be careful.
1 the last night of the year.
2 a religious service held on this night.
1 (often foll. by for) be on one's guard.
2 as a warning of immediate danger. watch-spring the mainspring of a watch. watch one's step proceed cautiously. watch-strap esp. Brit. a strap for fastening a watch on the wrist. watch-tower a tower from which observation can be kept.
watchable adj. watcher n. (also in comb.).
Etymology: OE waeligcce (n.), rel. to WAKE(1)
Useful english dictionary. 2012.