ae·​gis | \ˈē-jəs also ˈā- \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of aegis 

1 : a shield or breastplate emblematic of majesty that was associated with Zeus and Athena

2a : protection under the aegis of the Constitution

b : controlling or conditioning (see condition entry 2 sense 5a) influence passed new laws under the aegis of national security

3a : auspices, sponsorship under the aegis of the museum

b : control or guidance especially by an individual, group, or system under the aegis of the government

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Aegis Has Greek and Latin Roots

We borrowed "aegis" from Latin, but the word ultimately derives from the Greek noun aigis, which means "goatskin." In ancient Greek mythology, an aegis was something that offered physical protection. In some stories, it was the thundercloud where Zeus kept the thunderbolts he used as weapons. In others, the aegis was a magical protective cloak made from the skin of the goat that had suckled Zeus as an infant. The word first entered English in the 15th century as a noun meaning "shield" or "protection," and by the 20th century it had acquired the extended senses of "auspices" or "sponsorship."

Examples of aegis in a Sentence

having no claim to the land under the aegis of the law, the cattle baron decided to claim it by force a medical study that was questioned by many because it was done under the aegis of a major pharmaceutical company

Recent Examples on the Web

DERs are hanging out down at the bottom edge of the grid, under the aegis of DSOs. David Roberts, Vox, "Clean energy technologies threaten to overwhelm the grid. Here’s how it can adapt.," 30 Nov. 2018 Charting a young rapper's rite of passage under the aegis of an old poet with a traumatic past, Respeto offers a gripping if sometimes slightly melodramatic look at the chaotic clash of values shaping the Philippines today. Clarence Tsui, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Respeto': Film Review," 11 July 2018 Meanwhile, there are major regional bus initiatives beyond Metro’s aegis — including the Richmond Highway Bus Rapid Transit in Fairfax County and plans to construct a Bus Rapid Transit corridor along U.S. Route 29 in Montgomery County. Faiz Siddiqui, Washington Post, "With ridership falling, Metro will spend $2.2 million to study bus business model," 6 July 2018 The Marlins' first draft, under the aegis of a beefed-up scouting department led by former Yankees personnel guru Gary Denbo, produced 41 new prospects this week who include 25 pitchers -- 22 of them from the college level. Greg Cote, miamiherald, "Marlins' 25th Anniversary Weekend underlines Derek Jeter's obligation to heal deep wounds," 9 June 2018 Foreigners are forbidden from traveling without guides, who operate under the aegis of the government. Steph Cha,, "A peek inside the real North Korea — sort of — in 'See You Again in Pyongyang'," 25 May 2018 Protests led to the creation in 2016 of MACCIH, a CICIG-like commission with weaker powers, under the aegis of the Organisation of American States. The Economist, "The threat to Central America’s prosecutors," 10 May 2018 Under the aegis of novelist and screenwriter David Nicholls, each installment takes on a different style and tone, too. Sonia Saraiya, HWD, "Review: Benedict Cumberbatch Shines as Drug-Addled Aristocrat Patrick Melrose," 9 May 2018 Under the society’s aegis, Mr. Morton preached to South Asian immigrants on the streets of Jackson Heights, Queens. James Taranto, WSJ, "The Making—and Unmaking—of a Jihadist," 4 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aegis.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of aegis

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aegis

borrowed from Latin, borrowed from Greek aigís "goatskin, mantle of Zeus," derivative of aig-, aíx "goat"; akin to Armenian aic "goat" (perhaps going back to Indo-European *h2eiǵ-ih2-), and perhaps to Avestan izaēna "of leather"

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Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for aegis

The first known use of aegis was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of aegis

: the power to protect, control, or support something or someone

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More from Merriam-Webster on aegis

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for aegis

Britannica English: Translation of aegis for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about aegis

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to make faulty or ineffective

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