to signify a watching or guarding both by night and by day, and ward, which is now rarely used, having
simply the meaning of guard, or protection, without reference to time.
Still, when she slept, he kept both watch and ward.Spenser.
Ward, guard, or custodia, is chiefly applied to the daytime, in order to apprehend rioters, and robbers
on the highway . . . Watch, is properly applicable to the night only, . . . and it begins when ward
ends, and ends when that begins.Blackstone.
2. One who watches, or those who watch; a watchman, or a body of watchmen; a sentry; a guard.
Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch; go your way, make it as sure as ye can.Matt. xxvii. 65.
3. The post or office of a watchman; also, the place where a watchman is posted, or where a guard is
He upbraids Iago, that he made himShak.
Brave me upon the watch.
4. The period of the night during which a person does duty as a sentinel, or guard; the time from the
placing of a sentinel till his relief; hence, a division of the night.
I did stand my watch upon the hill.Shak.
Might we but hear . . .Milton.
Or whistle from the lodge, or village cock
Count the night watches to his feathery
5. A small timepiece, or chronometer, to be carried about the person, the machinery of which is moved
by a spring.
Watches are often distinguished by the kind of escapement used, as an anchor watch, a lever watch, a
chronometer watch, etc. (see the Note under Escapement, n., 3); also, by the kind of case, as a gold
or silver watch, an open-faced watch, a hunting watch, or hunter, etc.
6. (Naut.) (a) An allotted portion of time, usually four hour for standing watch, or being on deck ready
for duty. Cf. Dogwatch. (b) That part, usually one half, of the officers and crew, who together attend
to the working of a vessel for an allotted time, usually four hours. The watches are designated as the
port watch, and the starboard watch.
Anchor watch (Naut.), a detail of one or more men who keep watch on deck when a vessel is at anchor.
To be on the watch, to be looking steadily for some event. Watch and ward (Law), the charge
or care of certain officers to keep a watch by night and a guard by day in towns, cities, and other districts,
for the preservation of the public peace. Wharton. Burrill. Watch and watch (Naut.), the regular
alternation in being on watch and off watch of the two watches into which a ship's crew is commonly
divided. Watch barrel, the brass box in a watch, containing the mainspring. Watch bell (Naut.),
a bell struck when the half-hour glass is run out, or at the end of each half hour. Craig. Watch bill
(Naut.), a list of the officers and crew of a ship as divided into watches, with their stations. Totten.
Watch case, the case, or outside covering, of a watch; also, a case for holding a watch, or in which
it is kept. Watch chain. Same as watch guard, below. Watch clock, a watchman's clock; see
under Watchman. Watch fire, a fire lighted at night, as a signal, or for the use of a watch or guard.
Watch glass. (a) A concavo-convex glass for covering the face, or dial, of a watch; also called
watch crystal. (b) (Naut.) A half-hour glass used to measure the time of a watch on deck. Watch
guard, a chain or cord by which a watch is attached to the person. Watch gun (Naut.), a gun
sometimes fired on shipboard at 8 p. m., when the night watch begins. Watch light, a low-burning
lamp used by watchers at night; formerly, a candle having a rush wick. Watch night, The last night
of the year; so called by the Methodists, Moravians, and others, who observe it by holding religious