Green’s Dictionary of Slang

watch v.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

watch queen (n.) [SE watch + -queen sfx (2)]

a male homosexual voyeur.

[US]J.P. Stanley ‘Homosexual Sl.’ in AS XLV:1/2 53: The most popular compound formation involves some nouns plus queen [...] toe queen, felch queen, body queen, watch queen.
[US]H. Max Gay (S)language.

In phrases

watch it (v.)

to look out, to be careful; esp. in imper. watch it! used as a warning or a threat.

[UK] ‘’Arry’s Spring Thoughts’ in Punch 17 Apr. 185: But if them as should Boss us don’t watch it, us snide uns ’ull all go to pot.
[UK]Marvel 15 Oct. 12: I’ll watch it’ he gasped.
[UK]R. Llewellyn None But the Lonely Heart 282: ‘Watch it,’ yells Knocker.
[US]J. Thompson Savage Night (1991) 4: I was going to have to watch it.
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn (1966) 132: So watch it buddy, you’re not fuckin with a nobody.
[Aus](con. 1941) R. Beilby Gunner 101: Watch it or I’ll have your stripes.
[UK]Beano Special No. 4 n.p.: Oi! Watch it, Moosh! Not so rough!
[UK]Reeves & Mortimer Vic Reeves Big Night Out n.p.: His catchphrase is ‘Watch it, missis, it’s sticky!’.
[US]C. Cook Robbers (2001) 58: Better watch it. Things to do, things to do. ‘Guide to London Slang 10 Jan. [Internet] Watch – be careful; dont mess with me.
watch one’s ass (v.) [SE watch + ass n. (2)] (orig. US)

to take care, to take note, to be warned; usu. as watch your ass.

[US]L. Bruce Essential Lenny Bruce 83: If you’re Filipino, watch your ass, because Norm’s in!
[US]P. Hamill Dirty Laundry 65: ‘All right,’ he growled. ‘Watch your ass.’ [...] ‘Watch yours,’ I said.
[US]S. King Christine 131: Watch your ass, Arnie [...] My dad says he’s a crook.
[UK]J. Mowry Six Out Seven (1994) 392: You gots to start watchin your ass more better.
[US]F. Kellerman Stalker (2001) 159: Just watch your ass, okay?
watch one’s back (v.)

to take care of oneself.

[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 175: I couldn’t afford to have my head tucked so high in the clouds that I couldn’t watch my back.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 4: You still gotta watch your back twenty-four-seven.
[UK]Guardian 25 Aug. [Internet] You need to watch your back and who you talk to if you don’t know they’re a true Nogzy soldie.
[US]A. Steinberg Running the Books 12: I found myself having to watch my back for trouble from an emotionally stunted prison guard.
watch oneself (v.)

to take care; esp. as an imper. when the implication is of a threat from the speaker.

[US]B. Schulberg On the Waterfront (1964) 112: Now ya watch yerself now.
[US]R. Campbell In La-La Land We Trust (1999) 38: I’d better watch myself or they’ll hang me from the lamppost right there and then.
[US]G. Pelecanos Shame the Devil 76: You watch yourself if you’re going to be hanging around Kennedy [...] I’ve seen some really bad shit go down on that strip.
watch one’s lip (v.) (also ...mouth, ...tongue) [lip n.1 (1a)/mouth n. (3)/SE tongue]

to mind one’s manners, to talk politely; also as imper.

[US]R. Chandler Long Good-Bye 67: ‘A hoodlum with sentiment,’ I said. ‘That slays me.’ ‘Watch your lip, cheapie. Watch your lip.’.
[US]‘Ed Lacy’ Room to Swing 127: Watch your fat tongue, heavy.
[UK]W. Hall Long and the Short and the Tall Act I: bamforth: All Corps are bastards, we all know that. / macleish: Watch your mouth!
[US]D. Ponicsan Cinderella Liberty 11: Watch your mouth.
[UK]G.F. Newman A Prisoner’s Tale 157: Watch your lip. Just do as you’re told.
[UK]P. Barker Blow Your House Down 4: She was going to have to watch her tongue.
[US]R. Campbell Wizard of La-La Land (1999) 163: I wish you’d watch your mouth.
[Ire](con. 1970) G. Moxley Danti-Dan in McGuinness Dazzling Dark (1996) I iv: Watch your fucking lip, I’m warning you.
[UK]N. Barlay Crumple Zone 20: Watch your mouth or you die.
[UK](con. late 1940s) V. Foot Sixteen Shillings And Tuppence Ha’penny 103: I’ll have ter watch me mouf wiv yer, Benjie, won’t I?
watch someone’s back (v.) (also take...)

1. to look after or protect someone else.

[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 152: Whites had to start watching white backs.
[US](con. 1998–2000) J. Lerner You Got Nothing Coming 137: I already put it on the wire that you’re hitting the yard so my dawgs can watch your back. [Ibid.] 177: The Inferno dawgs have all paused, ready to [...] take my back should Stanger go postal.

2. to take care of someone else.

[US](con. 1933) G. Pelecanos Big Blowdown (1999) 20: Thanks for watchin’ my back, Joey.
[UK]Sun. Times Mag. 12 Mar. 30: My baby sister who looks out for me, watches my back.
watch the ant races (v.) [the image of having collapsed on the floor]

to be excessively drunk.

posting at 14 Jan. [Internet] Don’t just sit at the bar, drink too much and watch the ant races, get up and Meet & Greet.
watch (the) submarines (race) (v.) (also watch submarine races)

(US) to indulge in sexual by-play; thus submarine watching n.

[US] in Current Sl. (1967) I:4 5/1: Submarine watching, n. Parking.
[US]Baker et al. CUSS 219: Watch submarines To neck.
[US] in Current Sl. IV:3–4 (1970) 26: Watch midnight submarine races, v. To have sex relations in an out-of-the-way place.
[US](con. 1950s) H. Junker ‘The Fifties’ in Eisen Age of Rock 2 (1970) 102: In that case, if he didn’t get shot down (stood up), he might suggest catching a flick [...] Let’s go watch the submarines race.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 145: watch submarine races (kwn SF, early-mid ’60s, teen sl) to park near the beach.

In exclamations

watch my dust! [the SE dust of departure; note dust v.2 (1)]

(US) see me go!

[US](con. 1910s) J.T. Farrell Young Lonigan in Studs Lonigan (1936) 126: When she got to know him, well you just watch his dust.
[Aus](con. 1940s) T.A.G. Hungerford Sowers of the Wind 15: ‘You’re not going out whoring tonight?’ ‘Watch my dust!’.
[US]H. Ellison ‘No Game for Children’ in Gentleman Junkie (1961) 83: Watch my dust, sweetheart.