Definition of “watch” - English Dictionary

“watch” in British English

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watchverb

uk /wɒtʃ/ us /wɑːtʃ/

watch verb (LOOK AT)

A1 [ I or T ] to look at something for a period of time, especially something that is changing or moving:

I had dinner and watched TV for a couple of hours.
He spent the entire afternoon watching a cricket match.
[ + obj + infinitive without to ] I watched him get into a cab.
I got the feeling I was being watched.
[ + obj + -ing verb ] I sit by the window and watch people walking past.
[ + question word ] Just watch how he slides that ball in past the goalkeeper.
Bonner watched helplessly as they drove away without him.
She'll pretend that she hasn't seen us - you watch.

[ T ] to stay with someone or something, such as a child, for a short time to make certain that he, she, or it is safe:

If you want me to watch the kids for a couple of hours while you go out, just let me know.
Could you watch my bags for me, while I go to the toilet?

More examples

  • You can watch the trains going by from this window.
  • Practically the whole nation watched the ceremony on television.
  • He watches a lot of TV.
  • We sat on the beach watching a spectacular sunset.
  • Thousands of fans packed into the stadium to watch the match.

watch verb (BE CAREFUL)

B2 [ T ] to be careful of something:

I have to watch my weight (= be careful not to become too heavy) now I'm not exercising so much.
Watch your language (= do not use rude words), young man!
[ + (that) ] Watch (that) you don't get glue on your fingers.
[ + question word ] Watch what you're doing with that knife, Jim, it's sharp.
You need to watch him - he's a strange character.

More examples

  • You need to watch those car dealers.
  • Watch the mosquitos - they can give you a nasty bite.
  • Watch what you're doing with that stick!.

watchnoun

uk /wɒtʃ/ us /wɑːtʃ/

watch noun (SMALL CLOCK)

A1 [ C ] a small clock that is worn on a strap around the wrist or, sometimes, connected to a piece of clothing by a chain:

My watch seems to have stopped (= stopped working).
He glanced nervously at his watch.

More examples

  • Repairing a watch is a very fiddly job.
  • She took/cast a glance at her watch.
  • The watch mechanism is extremely intricate and very difficult to repair.
  • Does your watch keep good time?
  • On the bottom of the watch it said 'Swiss-made'.

watch noun (LOOKING)

[ S or U ] the activity of watching or giving attention to something or someone, especially to make certain nothing bad happens:

The police keep a close watch on gang members.
The soldiers slept at night, except for one who stayed awake on watch/to keep watch.

[ S ] a person or group of soldiers or guards whose duty is to protect a person, place, or thing from danger or attack

[ C ] a particular period of time during which a person or a group of soldiers or guards has the duty of protecting and warning of danger:

the night watch

More examples

  • I sometimes just look out the window and keep a watch on the comings and goings of everyone in the street.
  • Her parents used to keep a jealous watch over her when she was young.
  • Management keep a close watch on bullying in the workplace.
  • She keeps a close watch on her husband to see that he behaves himself.
  • You need to keep a close watch on him. He's a real troublemaker.

Idiom(s)

(Definition of “watch” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“watch” in American English

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watchnoun

us /wɑtʃ, wɔtʃ/

watch noun (SMALL CLOCK)

[ C ] a small clock usually worn on a strap around the wrist, or sometimes carried in a pocket:

She looked at her watch and said, "It’s a quarter to five."

watch noun (LOOKING AT)

[ C/U ] an act of guarding someone or something to make sure the person or property stays safe and in the right place:

[ U ] The prison guards kept a close watch on him.

[ C/U ] Watch is also a period during which someone is responsible for guarding or looking around to be sure that property or people are safe, or the person who is responsible:

[ C ] The soldiers on the night watch had to be careful not to fall asleep.

watchverb

us /wɑtʃ, wɔtʃ/

watch verb (LOOK AT)

to look at something for a period of time:

[ T ] He spent the evening watching an old movie on TV.
[ + to infinitive ] The police were watching to see who left the house.
[ T ] Do you want me to watch the kids (= notice what they are doing and care for them) when you go out?

watch verb (BE CAREFUL)

[ T ] to be careful of something:

We have to watch our bank account to make sure there’s enough money in it to pay our credit card bills.
I’ve got to start watching my weight (= be careful not to become fat).
The sign says "Watch for (= be careful of) falling rocks."

Phrasal verb(s)

(Definition of “watch” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)