From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Watchword \Watch"word`\, n.
   1. A word given to sentinels, and to such as have occasion to
      visit the guards, used as a signal by which a friend is
      known from an enemy, or a person who has a right to pass
      the watch from one who has not; a countersign; a password.
      [1913 Webster]

   2. A sentiment or motto; esp., one used as a rallying cry or
      a signal for action.
      [1913 Webster]

            Nor deal in watchwords overmuch.      --Tennyson.
      [1913 Webster]
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