verb (watches, watching, watched )
1 to look at somebody or something for some time:
We watched television all evening.
Watch how I do this.
Look at the note at see.
2 to look after something or somebody:
Could you watch my bags while I buy a ticket?
watch out to be careful because of somebody or something dangerous same meaning look out:
Watch out! There's a car coming.
watch out for somebody or something to look carefully and be ready for somebody or something dangerous same meaning look out for somebody or something:
Watch out for ice on the roads.
I. watch1 S1 W1 /wɒtʃ $ wɑːtʃ, wɒːtʃ/ BrE AmE verb
[Word Family: noun: watch, watcher; adjective: watchful, watchable; verb: ↑watch]
[Language: Old English; Origin: wæccan]
1. LOOK [intransitive and transitive] to look at someone or something for a period of time, paying attention to what is happening:
Do you mind if I watch?
We sat and watched the sunset.
watch carefully/closely/intently etc
He watched helplessly as Paula fell into the icy water.
Watch carefully. You may learn something.
watch (somebody/something) with interest/amusement/delight etc
Harriet watched him with interest.
watch somebody/something do/doing something
I watched him go, then went home.
Ruth could not bear to watch her parents arguing.
watch to do something
I watched to see how he’d react.
watch television/a film etc
The debate was watched by 97 million viewers.
Most parents don’t know what their kids are watching on TV.
watch what/how/when etc
It’s useful to watch how other pilots handle the glider.
2. BE CAREFUL [transitive] to act carefully in order to avoid an accident or unwanted situation
Watch he doesn’t run into the road.
She’s a student and has to watch her budget closely.
Watch your head on the shelf.
watch what/how/where etc
Silly old fool! Why doesn’t he watch where he’s going?
Watch what you’re doing! It’s spilling everywhere!
Watch yourself (=be careful) in Madrid; there are some rough areas.
watch what you say/your tongue/your language/your mouth etc (=be careful not to hurt or offend people by what you say)
Employees should watch what they say in personal emails.
watch your weight/watch what you eat (=be careful not to get fat)
He may be a former athlete, but he still has to watch his weight.
3. PAY ATTENTION [transitive] to pay attention to a situation that interests or worries you to see how it develops
American companies are watching Japanese developments closely.
The government will watch the progress of these schemes with interest.
4. CARE FOR [transitive] to stay with someone or something so that nothing bad happens to them:
She watches the kids for us occasionally.
5. SECRETLY [transitive] to secretly watch a person or place:
I feel like I’m being watched.
6. watch your step informal to be careful, especially about making someone angry:
He soon saw he’d have to watch his step with some of these guys.
7. watch your back informal to be careful because other people may try to harm you
8. watch the clock informal to keep looking at the time because you are worried or bored:
anxious mums watching the clock
9. watch the time to make sure you know what time it is to avoid being late
10. watch it spoken used to warn someone to be careful:
Watch it, there’s a car.
11. watch this space informal used to tell people to pay attention in the future because things are going to develop further – used especially in newspapers
12. one to watch someone or something that people should pay attention to because they are interesting or exciting:
In the tournament so far, Italy’s Stefania Croce looks like the one to watch.
13. watch the world go by to relax outside by just looking at the people around you:
lingering in a pavement café, watching the world go by
14. you watch informal used to tell someone that you know what will happen:
He’ll win this time, you watch.
⇨ watch somebody like a hawk at ↑hawk1
• • •
▪ watch television We watched television all evening.
▪ watch a programme/film/show They were watching a film on TV.
▪ closely I watched him closely while he was giving his evidence.
▪ carefully She watched very carefully and did exactly as he did.
▪ helplessly He watched helplessly as his son was swept away by the waves.
▪ intently (=with a lot of attention) Her father was watching her intently as she worked.
▪ with interest/amusement etc A small crowd of people were watching them with interest.
▪ in horror/amazement etc He watched in horror as the flames engulfed his house.
• • •
▪ watch to look at someone or something for a period of time and pay attention to what is happening: They were all watching the game. | I watched him get out of his car. | We are watching carefully to see how the situation develops.
▪ keep an eye on somebody/something to watch someone or something carefully so that you are prepared if anything bad happens: The doctors are keeping a careful eye on her. | Can you keep an eye on my bag for me? | Keep an eye on house prices before you decide to sell.
▪ observe to watch someone or something carefully in order to learn more about them: A 24-hour camera is being used to observe the birds’ behaviour. | During your teacher training you will be encouraged to observe lessons.
▪ monitor to watch a situation carefully to see how it changes over a period of time: Class teachers are responsible for monitoring the progress of each student. | Economists are monitoring the situation carefully.
▪ spy on somebody to watch someone secretly in order to find out what they are doing: He hired a private detective to spy on her. | In the 1960s, government agencies were spying on everybody.
■ someone who watches something
▪ spectator someone who watches an event, especially a sports event: There were 4,500 spectators at the game. | a crowd of spectators
▪ viewer someone who watches television: Millions of television viewers listened to the President’s speech. | programmes for younger viewers
▪ audience the people who watch a play or performance, or the people who watch a particular television programme: The audience roared with laughter and clapped. | It attracted a television audience of seven million.
▪ onlooker someone who watches something happening without being involved in it, especially in the street: A man was standing on the roof, watched by a crowd of onlookers below.
▪ observer someone who watches and pays attention to particular situations and events, because they are interested in them, or it is their job: She was a shrewd observer of human nature. | a political observer who writes for The Independent newspaper | The United Nations has sent military observers to the Sudan.
watch (out) for something phrasal verb
to pay close attention in a particular situation because you are expecting something to happen or you want to avoid something bad:
She stepped outside to watch for the cab.
What problems should I watch out for when buying an old house?
watch out phrasal verb informal
used to tell someone to be careful:
You’ll become an alcoholic if you don’t watch out.
watch over somebody phrasal verb
to protect someone so that they are not harmed:
There must have been an angel watching over me that day.
Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary - 4th Edition
watch / wɒtʃ / / wɑːtʃ / 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 taxi.
I got the feeling I was being watched.
[ + obj + -ing verb ] I sit by the window and watch people walk ing past.
[ + question word ] Just watch how he slides that ball in past the goalkeeper.
Bonner watched helplessly as the ball sneaked in at the near post.
She'll pretend that she hasn't seen us - you watch.
[ T ] to stay with something or someone such as a child for a short time to make certain that they are 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?
watch / wɒtʃ / / wɑːtʃ / verb [ T ] (BE CAREFUL)
B2 to be careful of something:
I have to watch my weight (= be careful not to become too heavy) now I'm not doing so much sport.
Watch your language (= do not use rude words) in front of ladies, young man!
[ + (that) ] Watch (that) you don't get glue on your fingers, won't you?
[ + question word ] Watch wh at you're doing with that knife, Jim, it's sharp.
You want to (= you should) watch him - he's a bit of a strange character.
© Cambridge University Press 2013
I [wɒ̱tʃ]LOOKING AND PAYING ATTENTION
watches, watching, watched
(Please look at category 15 to see if the expression you are looking for is shown under another headword.)
1) VERB If you watch someone or something, you look at them, usually for a period of time, and pay attention to what is happening.
[V n] The man was standing in his doorway watching him...
[V n inf] He watched the barman prepare the beer he had ordered...
[V n -ing] Chris watched him sipping his brandy...
I watched as Amy ate a few nuts.
2) VERB If you watch something on television or an event such as a sports match, you spend time looking at it, especially when you see it from the beginning to the end.
[V n] I'd stayed up late to watch the film...
[V n] They spent a great deal of time watching television.
3) VERB If you watch a situation or event, you pay attention to it or you are aware of it, but you do not influence it.
[V n] Human rights groups have been closely watching the case...
Annoyed commuters could only watch as the departure time ticked by.
4) VERB If you watch people, especially children or animals, you are responsible for them, and make sure that they are not in danger.
[V n] Parents can't be expected to watch their children 24 hours a day.
5) VERB If you watch someone, you follow them secretly or spy on them.
[V n] Ella was scared that someone was watching her...
[V n] I always had the feeling we were being watched.
6) VERB If you tell someone to watch a particular person or thing, you are warning them to be careful that the person or thing does not get out of control or do something unpleasant.
[V n] You really ought to watch these quiet types...
[V n] If you're watching the calories, don't have mayonnaise.
keep an eye on
7) N-COUNT A watch is a period of carefully looking and listening, often while other people are asleep and often as a military duty, so that you can warn them of danger or an attack.
I had the first watch that May evening.
8) PHRASE: V inflects If someone keeps watch, they look and listen all the time, while other people are asleep or doing something else, so that they can warn them of danger or an attack.
Jose, as usual, had climbed a tree to keep watch.
9) PHRASE: V inflects, usu PHR on n If you keep watch on events or a situation, you pay attention to what is happening, so that you can take action at the right moment.
US officials have been keeping close watch on the situation.
10) PHRASE You say `watch it' in order to warn someone to be careful, especially when you want to threaten them about what will happen if they are not careful.
`Now watch it, Patsy,' the Sergeant told her.
11) PHRASE: v-link PHR, PHR after v If someone is on watch, they have the job of carefully looking and listening, often while other people are asleep and often as a military duty, so that they can warn them of danger or an attack.
Apart from two men on watch in the engine-room, everyone was asleep.
12) PHRASE: v-link PHR, oft PHR for n If you are on the watch for something, you are expecting it to happen and you therefore pay attention to events so that you will notice it when it does happen.
Environmentalists will be on the watch for damage to wildlife.
on the lookout
13) PHRASE: PHR after v, v-link PHR If someone is being kept under watch, they are being guarded or observed all the time.
14) PHRASE You say to someone `you watch' or `just watch' when you are predicting that something will happen, and you are very confident that it will happen as you say.
You watch. Things will get worse before they get better.
15) watch this space → see space
watch your step → see step
- watch for
- watch out for
- watch out
- watch out for
- watch overII [wɒ̱tʃ]INSTRUMENT THAT TELLS THE TIME
A watch is a small clock which you wear on a strap on your wrist, or on a chain.
1watch /ˈwɑːʧ/ verb watch·es; watched; watch·ing
1 a : to look at (someone or something) for an amount of time and pay attention to what is happening
• They have a rookie on the team who is fun to watch.
• I fell asleep watching television.
• What movie are you watching?
• “Mom, watch me do a cartwheel!”
• Watch us (do it) to see how it's done.
• She sat and watched the children play.
• He didn't know that he was being watched by the police. [=that the police were looking at what he was doing]
• “Would you like to play, too?” “No, I'll just watch.”
• Just sit back and watch.
• Keep watching to see what happens next.
• “What happens next?” “Watch and see.”
b : to give your attention to (a situation, an event, etc.)
• People are watching this presidential race very carefully/closely.
• Fans anxiously watched the clock [=they paid close attention to the time remaining on the clock] as the end of the game approached.
• Investors watched with delight as stock prices rose.
2 [+ obj] : to care for (someone or something) for a period of time in order to make sure that nothing bad or unwanted happens
• Will you watch my things (for me) until I get back?
• He watched [=took care of] the baby while I made dinner.
• Can you watch the dog for us this weekend?
• Watch yourself [=be careful] up on the roof.
3 [+ obj]
a : to try to control (something)
• She tries to watch her weight. [=she tries not to gain weight]
• The doctor told him that he has to watch what he eats.
• We've been watching how much money we spend.
b : to be careful about (something) - usually used in commands
• Watch your step. These stairs are slippery.
• Watch your head getting into the car.
• Watch what you're doing! You almost hit me.
• Watch what you say in front of him. He's very sensitive.
• Watch your language/mouth/tongue, young lady! [=don't say rude or inappropriate things]
4 not used in progressive tenses [+ obj] : to make sure that something bad or unwanted does not happen
• You will want to watch that it doesn't happen again.
- often used in commands
• Watch (that) you don't fall!
• Watch (that) the wind doesn't blow your papers away.
a watched pot never boils
- see 1boil
watch for [phrasal verb]
1 watch for (someone or something) : to look for (someone or something that you expect to see)
• Are you watching for your parents? They should be here any minute.
• She watches for her school bus from inside her house.
• The nurse watched for signs of the disease.
• We need to watch for any sudden changes in his heartbeat.
2 watch for (something) : to look for (something that you want to get or use)
• She is always watching for sales.
watch it informal
- used to tell someone to be careful
• Watch it! You nearly knocked over that lamp!
watch out [phrasal verb] : to be aware of something dangerous
• If you don't watch out you could fall.
• You'd better watch out. [=be careful] These stairs are slippery.
- often + for
• Watch out for that car!
• There are many dangers that you need to watch out for.
watch over [phrasal verb] watch over (someone or something) : to take care of (someone or something)
• The shepherds watched over their sheep.
• She believed that angels were watching over her.
watch (someone or something) like a hawk
- see 1hawk
watch someone's back
- see 1back
watch your back
- see 1back
watch your p's and q's
- see 1p
watch your step
- see 1step
you watch informal
- used to tell someone that you think something will probably happen
• She'll change her mind again, you watch. [=I think she'll change her mind again]