from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A prearranged reply to a challenge, as from a guard or sentry; a password.
- n. A rallying cry: Let our watchword be freedom.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. a prearranged reply to the challenge of a sentry or a guard; a password or signal by which friends can be known from enemies
- n. a word used as a motto, as expressive of a principle or rule of action; a maxim, byword
- n. a rallying cry
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A word given to sentinels, and to such as have occasion to visit the guards, used as a signal by which a friend is known from an enemy, or a person who has a right to pass the watch from one who has not; a countersign; a password.
- n. A sentiment or motto; esp., one used as a rallying cry or a signal for action.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A word or short phrase to be communicated on challenge to the watch or sentinels in a camp; a password or signal by which friends can be known from enemies.
- n. Hence Any preconcerted indication or a direction eagerly watched for, as a signal for action.
- n. A word used as a motto, as expressive of a principle or rule of action; a maxim, byword, or rallying-cry.
- n. The call of a watchman or sentry as he goes his rounds.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a secret word or phrase known only to a restricted group
- n. a slogan used to rally support for a cause
From Middle English waccheword, morphologically as watch + word. (Wiktionary)