Definition of watchman in US English:



  • 1A man employed to look after an empty building, especially at night.

    • ‘Though it is the house of the First Citizen of India, it doesn't have any security personnel, or even a watchman to monitor the visitors, much to their surprise and disbelief.’
    • ‘You see during the night the watchman kind of maybe fell asleep and some raiders stole the carriage.’
    • ‘For a moment I wondered if he secretly worked night shift as a watchman.’
    • ‘Receiving a look from the watchman the gatekeeper knew the postman felt the same.’
    • ‘Even hostels come with curfews, watchmen, wardens especially when they house girls.’
    • ‘For here's a little detail you don't know: the brothers are children of the building's watchman.’
    • ‘The watchman who was working the second shift said he came early to relieve the first.’
    • ‘In an attempt to control the situation, the university posted armed watchmen at the doors of all open washrooms.’
    • ‘As a result, there are over a hundred security companies supplying bodyguards and watchmen for those that can afford it.’
    • ‘Only, there are these boys studying in there, this watchman spending the night in there.’
    • ‘Half-seen in a corner of the lobby, three watchmen in greatcoats crouch over a brazier.’
    • ‘But in the last few weeks I have been talking to Mumbai citizens of less elevated status: office clerks and peons, cabdrivers, shopkeepers, watchmen.’
    • ‘That was back in 1979, and he made his debut as a scriptwriter for an offbeat movie about ‘a watchman in a graveyard, and his interaction with death’.’
    • ‘The fences and barriers, speed bumps and empty watchmen's huts are the trappings of wealth, the buffers of avarice.’
    • ‘She immediately turned her attention towards the entrance to find a being that was not the security watchman.’
    • ‘When no one answered, they broke in and searched the building, only to find a watchman sleeping at his post.’
    • ‘The watchman phoned the emergency services and other colleagues after the alarm activated.’
    • ‘The watchman from the previous night caught my eyes and I knew that brushing it off as a simple misunderstanding wasn't a possibility.’
    • ‘Police said they were… alarmed by the mysterious disappearance of uniforms belonging to janitors, watchmen and others from local laundries and dry cleaners.’
    • ‘The beam of a flashlight plays across the glass in the door, but by the time the watchmen walks by the office is empty.’
    security guard, security man, guard, custodian, doorman
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    1. 1.1historical A member of a body of people employed to keep watch in a town at night.
      • ‘The watchmen were the forerunners of today's police force.’
      • ‘Several of the watchmen came down from the towers to confer with the king and his knights inside the castle.’
      • ‘During the night, watchmen in the town watched lights flicker all over the mountain in the distance.’
      • ‘If you stay long enough, you will hear mournful strains from a lone bugle - it is played every hour in memory of the watchman whose trumpeted warning of an invasion was silenced by a Turkish arrow.’
      • ‘Additionally all towns of any size employed watchmen, but even in the largest their complement seldom ran to three figures.’
      guard, watch, sentry, sentinel, night watchman, scout, picket
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