Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

watch - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb watch pronunciation in British English /wɒtʃ/
Word Forms
present tense
present participlewatching
past tensewatched
past participlewatched
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to look at someone or something for a period of time

    Have you been watching the election campaign?

    watch someone/something do something:

    Jill watched the children build sandcastles.

    From the hill you can watch the planes take off.

    watch someone/something doing something:

    We arrived early to watch the players warming up.

    watch how/who/what etc:

    Watch how well she handles the ball.

    watch with interest/amusement/fascination etc:

    A vicious-looking dog was watching us with interest.

    1. a.
      [transitive] to look at something such as a television programme or sports event, usually from the beginning to the end

      Our kids only watch videos at weekends.

      Did you watch the news last night?

    2. b.
      [transitive] to secretly look at someone or something for a period of time, especially because you want to get information or to do something illegal

      I think our house is being watched.

    3. c.
      [transitive] [always in imperative] spoken used for telling someone to look at you while you do something

      Watch what I can do.

      Watch me!

    See also look1
  2. 2
    [transitive] to be careful of something

    Watch the knife! It’s sharp!

    watch how/who/what etc:

    You should watch what you say about my friends.

    watch (that):

    Watch you don’t get your bag stolen.

  3. 3
    [transitive] to take care of a child, an animal, or someone’s property for a short time and make sure that nothing harms it

    Can you please watch my bag while I make a phone call?

    Could you just watch the baby for a minute?



used to describe something which is done more carefully and over a longer period of time …

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


the practice of giving birth in the presence of several friends and relatives

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play