verb pro·tect \prə-ˈtekt\

: to keep (someone or something) from being harmed, lost, etc.

: to save (someone) from financial loss caused by fire, injury, damage, etc.

sports : to try to stop opponents from scoring at (your goal)

Full Definition of PROTECT

transitive verb
a :  to cover or shield from exposure, injury, damage, or destruction :  guard
b :  defend 1c <protect the goal>
:  to maintain the status or integrity of especially through financial or legal guarantees: as
a :  to save from contingent financial loss
b :  to foster or shield from infringement or restriction <salesmen with protected territories> <protect one's rights>; specifically :  to restrict competition for (as domestic industries) by means of tariffs or trade controls
:  defend 5 <protect a lead>
intransitive verb
:  to provide a guard or shield <protects against tooth decay>
pro·tect·able \-ˈtek-tə-bəl\ adjective
pro·tec·tive \-ˈtek-tiv\ adjective
pro·tec·tive·ly adverb
pro·tec·tive·ness noun

Examples of PROTECT

  1. He had no raincoat to protect himself from the rain.
  2. She keeps her jewelry protected in a safe.
  3. You have to protect your business against fraud.
  4. New laws have been passed to protect your privacy.
  5. The forest is protected by federal law.
  6. The high taxes on imported goods are intended to protect domestic producers.
  7. Sunscreen helps to protect against sunburn.
  8. The insurance protects you against flooding.
  9. The insurance does not protect against damage caused by earthquakes.

Origin of PROTECT

Middle English, from Latin protectus, past participle of protegere, from pro- in front + tegere to cover — more at pro-, thatch
First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of PROTECT

defend, protect, shield, guard, safeguard mean to keep secure from danger or against attack. defend denotes warding off actual or threatened attack <defend the country>. protect implies the use of something (as a covering) as a bar to the admission or impact of what may attack or injure <a hard hat to protect your head>. shield suggests protective intervention in imminent danger or actual attack <shielded her eyes from the sun with her hand>. guard implies protecting with vigilance and force against expected danger <White House entrances are well guarded>. safeguard implies taking precautionary protective measures against merely possible danger <our civil liberties must be safeguarded>.
PROTECTIVE Defined for Kids


verb pro·tect \prə-ˈtekt\

Definition of PROTECT for Kids

:  keep from being harmed especially by covering or shielding :  guard
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears