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watchword (plural watchwords)
- A word used as a motto, as expressive of a principle, belief, or rule of action; a rallying cry.
- 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter XXVII, in Francesca Carrara. […], volume I, London: Richard Bentley, […], (successor to Henry Colburn), →OCLC, page 321:
- "How this perpetual gaiety," exclaimed Louis, "jars upon the ear! Good Heaven! is farewell to be said so gladly? I sometimes start when I think upon the hollowness of all that surrounds me. I often wish my eye had the power of searching the inmost depths of the bosoms whose watchword is my name."
- 1945 May, Harry S. Truman, Announcement of Germany's Surrender:
- We can repay the debt which we owe to our God, to our dead, and to our children only by work — by ceaseless devotion to the responsibilities which lie ahead of us. If I could give you a single watchword for the coming months, that word is: work, work, and more work.
- 1994, Tori Amos (lyrics and music), “Cornflake Girl”, in Under the Pink:
- It's a peel out the watchword / Just peel out the watchword
- 2019 October, James Abbott, “Esk Valley revival”, in Modern Railways, page 76:
- The Esk Valley route to Whitby was a classic example: a basic four trains a day service has persisted for decades, with economy the watchword.
- (military, security) A prearranged reply to the challenge of a sentry or a guard; a password or signal by which friends can be known from enemies.
- 1625, George Sandys, Sacrae heptades:
- a Watchword sufficient for him that is wiſe
word used as expressive of a principle
a prearranged reply to the challenge of a sentry or a guard