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a photograph of three men looking out a window, one of them using binoculars
figure 1  

 

watchdog. Someone set to keep track of and/or restrict the actions of another.

This term is distinct from the concept of guard dog, where protection would be its purpose.

 

 

 

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the seal of the General Accountability Office of the US Government. spacer
figure 2

watchdog or watchdog group. Any person or group that monitors performance of government, industry, or other public organizations, especially on behalf of the public interest.

This usage is exceptionally common. In the month of December 2007 alone a washingtonpost.com keyword search for the word “watchdog” retrieved over 200 articles. All of these appear to be metaphorical watchdog groups or persons.
 
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About the illustrations: Figure 1 shows someone keeping an eye on someone else; perhaps it is the CIA or the FBI. © 2008 Jupiterimages Corporation.

Figure 2 shows the seal of the General Accountability Office of the United States government. The GAO is supposed to be an internal watchdog group for government spending and responsibility, though some see it as more of an administration lap dog. Perhaps the GAO should pay more attention to what the CIA and the FBI are doing. This image was commissioned by the United States government . As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.

see also: junkyard dog
cf:
beware of dog
Last updated: March 31, 2008
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