Watch vs Overwatch - What's the difference?

watch | overwatch |

As nouns the difference between watch and overwatch

is that watch is a portable or wearable timepiece while overwatch is (military) the supervision of one unit or vehicle by another while the supervised unit is firing or moving.

As verbs the difference between watch and overwatch

is that watch is (label) to look at, see, or view for a period of time while overwatch is to watch over.



(wikipedia watch)

Etymology 1

As a noun, from (etyl) wacche, from (etyl) . See below for verb form.


  • A portable or wearable timepiece.
  • *
  • , title=(The Celebrity), chapter=2 , passage=Sunning himself on the board steps, I saw for the first time Mr. Farquhar Fenelon Cooke.
    More people today carry a watch on their wrists than in their pockets.
  • The act of guarding and observing someone or something.
  • * Milton
  • shepherds keeping watch by night
  • * Addison
  • All the long night their mournful watch they keep.
  • A particular time period when guarding is kept.
  • The second watch of the night began at midnight.
  • * Shakespeare
  • I did stand my watch upon the hill.
  • * Milton
  • Might we but hear / Or whistle from the lodge, or village cock / Count the night watches to his feathery dames.
  • A person or group of people who guard.
  • The watch stopped the travelers at the city gates.
  • * Bible, Matthew xxvii. 65
  • Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch ; go your way, make it as sure as ye can.
  • The post or office of a watchman; also, the place where a watchman is posted, or where a guard is kept.
  • * Shakespeare
  • He upbraids Iago, that he made him / Brave me upon the watch .
  • (nautical) A group of sailors and officers aboard a ship or shore station with a common period of duty: starboard watch'', ''port watch .
  • (nautical) A period of time on duty, usually four hours in length; the officers and crew who tend the working of a vessel during the same watch. (FM 55–501).
  • The act of seeing, or viewing, for a period of time.
  • * 2004 , Charles P. Nemeth, Criminal law
  • A quick watch of Stanley Kubrick's Clockwork Orange sends this reality home fast. Amoral, vacuous, cold-blooded, unsympathetic, and chillingly evil describe only parts of the story.
    Derived terms
    * hurricane watch * on one's watch * on the watch * pocket watch * stand watch * stopwatch * tornado watch * wristwatch

    Etymology 2

    As a verb, from (etyl) wacchen, from (etyl) .


  • (label) To look at, see, or view for a period of time.
  • * , chapter=10
  • , title= The Mirror and the Lamp , passage=It was a joy to snatch some brief respite, and find himself in the rectory drawing–room. Listening here was as pleasant as talking; just to watch was pleasant. The young priests who lived here wore cassocks and birettas; their faces were fine and mild, yet really strong, like the rector's face; and in their intercourse with him and his wife they seemed to be brothers.}}
  • (label) To observe over a period of time; to notice or pay attention.
  • (label) To mind, attend, or guard.
  • *{{quote-book, year=1899, author=(Stephen Crane)
  • , title=, chapter=1 , passage=[…] (it was the town's humour to be always gassing of phantom investors who were likely to come any moment and pay a thousand prices for everything) — “[…] Them rich fellers, they don't make no bad breaks with their money. They watch it all th' time b'cause they know blame well there ain't hardly room fer their feet fer th' pikers an' tin-horns an' thimble-riggers what are layin' fer 'em. […]”}}
  • (label) To be wary or cautious of.
  • (label) To attend to dangers to or regarding.
  • (label) To remain awake with a sick or dying person; to maintain a vigil.
  • (label) To be vigilant or on one's guard.
  • (label) To act as a lookout.
  • To serve the purpose of a watchman by floating properly in its place.
  • To be awake.
  • * 1485 , (Thomas Malory), (w, Le Morte d'Arthur) , Book X:
  • So on the morne Sir Trystram, Sir Gareth and Sir Dynadan arose early and went unto Sir Palomydes chambir, and there they founde hym faste aslepe, for he had all nyght wacched [...].
    Usage notes
    * When used transitively to mean look at something, there is an implication that the direct object is something which is capable of changing.
    * ignore
    Derived terms
    * clock-watcher * watch it * watch like a hawk * watch the pennies * watch this space * watchman * watchtower

    See also

    * wait * wake 1000 English basic words



  • To watch over.
  • Noun

  • (military) The supervision of one unit or vehicle by another while the supervised unit is firing or moving.
  • *{{quote-news, year=2007, date=September 11, author=Michael R. Gordon, title=Petraeus Sees Bigger Role in Protecting Iraqi Civilians, work=New York Times citation
  • , passage=At a further and undefined point in the future, the American force would shrink to about seven and later five brigades — all involved in overwatch missions. }}