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[sen-tree] /ˈsɛn tri/
noun, plural sentries.
a soldier stationed at a place to stand guard and prevent the passage of unauthorized persons, watch for fires, etc., especially a sentinel stationed at a pass, gate, opening in a defense work, or the like.
a member of a guard or watch.
1605-15; short for sentrinel, variant of sentinel Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for sentries
  • Four small loopholes-three-inch-wide openings in the wall-would have allowed sentries to observe anyone who approached.
  • Some citizens defended random stores, rare sentries choosing to stand for order against the epidemic disorder.
  • The sentries of all arms salute her wherever she makes her appearance: and she touches her hat gravely to their salutation.
  • These, he thinks, would have accommodated the sentries who manned the watchtowers.
  • Anyone crossing this line was immediately shot by sentries posted at intervals around the stockade wall.
  • Siesta follows while sentries maintain a watch over the community.
  • But it is becoming clear that the environmental significance of these long-lived sentries is immeasurable.
  • Many of these were the ubiquitous sentries, but their pedestals were growing ever higher and more ornate.
  • The human body's white blood cells act as sentries, continuously on the lookout for signs of disease.
  • After landing, students create their own laws and post sentries.
British Dictionary definitions for sentries


noun (pl) -tries
a soldier who guards or prevents unauthorized access to a place, keeps watch for danger, etc
the watch kept by a sentry
Word Origin
C17: perhaps shortened from obsolete centrinel, C16 variant of sentinel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sentries



1610s, originally "watchtower;" perhaps a shortened variant of sentinel, which had a variant form centrinel (1590s); or perhaps worn down from sanctuary, on notion of "shelter for a watchman." Meaning "military guard posted around a camp" is first attested 1630s. Sentry-box is from 1728.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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