Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A vigil kept beside a dying or dead person.
  • n. One who guards a condemned person before execution.
  • n. A deathwatch beetle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A vigil beside a dying person
  • n. One who guards a condemned person before execution.
  • n. A deathwatch beetle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.
  • n. A small beetle (Anobium tessellatum and other allied species). By forcibly striking its head against woodwork it makes a ticking sound, which is a call of the sexes to each other, but has been imagined by superstitious people to presage death.
  • n. A small wingless insect, of the family Psocidæ, which makes a similar but fainter sound; -- called also deathtick.
  • n. The guard set over a criminal before his execution.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A vigil beside a dying person.
  • n. A guard set over a condemned criminal for some time prior to his execution.
  • n. The popular name of several small beetles which make a ticking or clicking sound, supposed by superstitious persons to be ominous of death
  • n. A minute, wingless, pseudoneuropterous insect, Atropos pulsatorius, of the family Psocidæ, a great pest in botanical and entomological collections. It also makes a ticking sound.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. bores through wood making a ticking sound popularly thought to presage death
  • n. minute wingless psocopterous insects injurious to books and papers

Etymologies

From death +‎ watch. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • But his deathwatch is down to 5, 4, 3, 2 ... so don't know if CBS, Mike or Molly should really be banking on that.

    Erica Kennedy: Are Marie Claire and CBS Wagging the Dog?

  • I am writing these lines in the death cell, and the deathwatch is set on me.

    Chapter 22

  • Visible rust and hidden corrosion, flow constricted, backing up in eddies and the furnace ticking over in the basement - sound they used to call the deathwatch beetle.

    Knocking From Inside

  • Well, beyond the obvious problems associated with reporting by someone only qualified for and interested in 'deathwatch' duty, it also means that even the good reporters present a skewed picture of the mission.

    Archive 2006-12-01

  • With the cancellation of DC's MINX line, Dirk Deppey at journalista asks if we should start a "deathwatch" for CMX and I thought I would see what you all think - is the death of CMX a real possibility?

    Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources

  • "deathwatch" is our shorthand for "lost most of his stack, about to bust."

    PokerStars Poker Blog

  • I have just had a talk with the man on shift of my deathwatch.

    Chapter 22

  • Night and day is this deathwatch on me, and its paradoxical function is to see that I do not die.

    Chapter 22

  • As I sit here and muse on it all, the footfalls of the deathwatch going up and down outside my cage, the man's suspicious eyes ever peering in on me, almost I weary of eternal recurrence.

    Chapter 22

  • BTW, Brad DeLong has been keeping the NYT and WaPo deathwatch clock for some time now.

    Matthew Yglesias » The George Will Scandal and the Decline of Great American Newspapers

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