Definition of watchword in US English:



  • 1A word or phrase expressing a person's or group's core aim or belief.

    ‘the watchword for the market is be prepared for anything’
    • ‘Innovation is the watchword of product development.’
    • ‘Its watchwords are free markets, privatisation, deregulation, flexibility, downsizing.’
    • ‘At the decisive moments the watchword has always seemed to be: nothing too painful, contradictory or critical.’
    • ‘Under the watchword of making Australian industry competitive, successive governments have backed corporations in undertaking massive downsizing.’
    • ‘But the overriding watchword is public service delivery.’
    • ‘The tradition is that, as each new president is installed, he or she establishes a watchword or mantra for the four year term of office.’
    • ‘Though austerity is the watchword for vital services needed by the city's working people, when it comes to profit interests, no expense is spared.’
    • ‘Innovation and doing your own thing are a day-to-day affair, where the watchwords are innovation and unconventional solutions.’
    • ‘Democracy is sometimes the watchword of those who think that all political problems could be solved if only we became (what we are not yet) a real democracy.’
    • ‘‘A killer is a killer is a killer’ is the watchword of American prosecutors and politicians.’
    • ‘Its watchwords are corruption, reaction and criminality.’
    • ‘The goal is to provide maximum community benefit from the resources available, and that should be the watchword for the museum as it prepares to embark on a major redevelopment at a very significant cost.’
    • ‘Indeed, since the Supreme Court handed the presidency to Bush the watchwords of the Democratic Party have been bipartisanship and reconciliation.’
    • ‘The ‘line of command’ is broken and personal survival becomes the watchword instead of commitment to the organizations objectives.’
    • ‘Thus ‘reform’ is the constant watchword on public services, as if they are currently broken.’
    • ‘This is a place, after all, where the watchword is innovation, where great value is put on novelty and trendiness, and where older buildings are routinely razed to make way for bigger (though not necessarily better) ones.’
    • ‘So I would say that the words ‘electoral integrity’ have not been the watchwords of this Government.’
    • ‘Convergence became the watchword as boundaries separating local and long-distance, voice and data, cable and telephone, and wireline and wireless services eroded.’
    • ‘Authoritarianism, barely concealed under the fig leaf of ‘democracy’, became its watchword.’
    • ‘Partnership is the watchword of U.S. strategy in this administration.’
    guiding principle, slogan, motto, maxim, axiom, mantra, truism, catchword, catchphrase, catchline, sound bite, byword, battle cry, rallying cry, formula, refrain, saying
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    1. 1.1archaic A military password.