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keep watch

Also, keep a watch or close watch on; watch over. Observe with continuous attention, especially to act as a sentinel or for protection. For example, Afraid that the wolves would return, she kept watch while the others slept, or They kept a close watch on the harbor, looking for signs of enemy ships, or, according to the Gospel of St. Luke (2:8): “And there were in the same country shepherds ... keeping watch over their flock by night.” [ Late 1300s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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