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Rémy Beijing
can we say someone is a watchdog

I was listening to ABC just now and overheard the word "watchdog".  The news presenter reported someting about internet safty and referred to a group of people as watchdogs for internet safty of the country.


I looked up the word in the dictionary and found: a watchdog - a guardian or defender against theft or illegal practices or waste. eg She is the global watchdog for human rights abuses.


My question is: when used to refer to a person (such as the example above), would this word have any derogatory or offensive meaning/undertone, for it appears to be related to dogs literally.


Dec 17, 2014 9:41 AM
Comments · 4

My family calls our neighbor a watchdog because she always looks out for strange activities in our neighborhood. One time she caught some kids teepeeing her trees. She's always very alert and will tell us if she knows some suspicious things going on.

December 18, 2014

No, there's nothing negative about a watchdog. It's rare to refer to an individual as a watchdog, though : a watchdog is usually a committee or group. On the whole, they are good things to have. They are independent bodies that keep an eye on what public and private organisations are up to.

December 17, 2014

hi michelle, thanks for your reply. i bet that your neighbourhood will be pretty safe thanks to her!

December 18, 2014


thank you for your explanation!

December 18, 2014
Rémy Beijing
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, French
Learning Language
English, French