-watch

-watch
The noun watch, meaning ‘a state of alert’, first produced a suffix (or combining form) in the 1950s, and is known earlier in verbs such as firewatch (a term from the Second World War), but it is essentially a creation of the 70s (doomwatch) and 80s in combinations to do with animal welfare such as badger-watch, birdwatch, and whale-watch, and in other uses such as crimewatch (the name of a UK television programme), hacker-watch (precaution against computer hackers) and stormwatch. Other ad hoc uses occur, establishing -watch as a productive element within fairly narrow limits:

• Family-sized platters contain an entire chicken or spaghetti for eight.…No reservations, so prepare to people-watch while you wait —Minnesota Monthly, 1994

• Are there no dog watch organisations to make sure that dog prices don't shoot up too high? —Bolton Evening News, 2005.


Modern English usage. 2014.

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