Not on my watch


Senior Member
Hi Group,

What does it mean the phrase "Not on my watch" Senator John Kerry say it, in his last campaign trial in Ohio, that he was not going to privatize social security. Where this phrase come from? Is the same thing as "over my death body"?
  • Rob625

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Not on my watch - this comes from the military or naval sense of watch. My watch = the time when I am on duty, and therefore responsible for what happens.

    Over my dead body - this is quite different. It means I will fight to the death to prevent X from happening.


    Senior Member
    USA English
    Antonio said:
    ok, but now what does it mean "Not on my watch"

    This can be used with any form of guarding or caregiving.

    A security guard of a shopping center must watch for intruders at night. His friend says, "There have been a lot of break-ins here lately." The guard says to his friend,"Not on my watch!" meaning, he is a tough guy, a good security guard and he is not going to let anything happen.

    Another example:
    A teacher is on yard duty, which means to watch the children play at recess. A child comes up and says, "Tom and Bobby are running through the water!" The teacher says, "Not on my watch," and goes over to stop the boys from running through water.

    Not on my watch is a way to say , I won't let anything bad happen while I'm watching or guarding.


    Senior Member
    USA English
    "Over my dead body". This is a very common term. It doesn't necessarily mean you will fight to the death!! Although sometimes I will say to my son, "Over my dead body!" and I would like to kill him at that moment! It soon passes and I love him again.
    I would say that yes, you could use these two terms to mean the same thing but only if you are on duty watching over someone or something.