American Dictionary of the English Language

Dictionary Search


WATCH, noun [It is from the same root as wake, which see.]

1. Forbearance of sleep.

2. Attendance without sleep.

All the long night their mournful watch they keep.

3. Attention; close observation. Keep watch of the suspicious man.

4. Guard; vigilance for keeping or protecting against danger.

He kept both watch and ward.

5. A watchman, or watchmen; men set for a guard, either one person or more, set to espy the approach of an enemy or other danger, and to give an alarm or notice of such danger; a sentinel; a guard. He kept a watch at the gate.

Ye have a watch; go your way, make it as sure as ye can. Matthew 27:65.

6. The place where a guard is kept.

He upbraids I ago, that he made him brave me upon the watch

7. Post or office of a watchman.

As I did stand my watch upon the hill--

8. A period of the night, in which one person or one set of persons stand as sentinels; or the time from one relief of sentinels to another. This period among the Israelites, seems to have been originally four hours, but was afterwards three hours, and there were four watches during the night. Hence we read in Scripture of the morning watch and of the second, third and fourth watch; the evening watch commencing at six oclock, the second at nine, the third at twelve, and the fourth at three in the morning. Exodus 14:24. Matthew 14:25. Luke 12:38.

9. A small time piece or chronometer, to be carried in the pocket or about the person, in which the machinery is moved by a spring.

10. At sea, the space of time during which one set or division of the crew remain on deck to perform the necessary duties. This is different in different nations.

To be on the watch to be looking steadily for some event.

WATCH, verb intransitive

1. To be awake; to be or continue without sleep.

I have two nights watchd with you.

2. To be attentive; to look with attention or steadiness. watch and see when the man passes.

3. To look with expectation.

My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning. Psalms 130:6.

4. To keep guard; to act as sentinel; to look for danger.

He gave signal to the minister that watchd.

5. To be attentive; to be vigilant in preparation for an event or trial, the time of whose arrival is uncertain.

WATCH therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. Mat 24.

6. To be insidiously attentive; as, to watch for an opportunity to injure another.

7. To attend on the sick during the night; as, to watch with a man in a fever.

To watch over, to be cautiously observant of; to inspect, superintend and guard from error and danger. It is our duty constantly to watch over our own conduct and that of our children.

WATCH, verb transitive

1. To guard; to have in keeping.

Flaming ministers watch and tend their charge.

2. To observe in ambush; to lie in wait for.

Saul also sent messengers to Davids house to watch him, and to slay him. 1 Samuel 19:11.

3. To tend; to guard.

Paris watched the flocks in the groves of Ida.

4. To observe in order to detect or prevent, or for some particular purpose; as, to watch a suspected person; to watch the progress of a bill in the legislature.