aegis

noun ae·gis \ ˈē-jəs also ˈā- \
variants: or less commonly
Updated on: 21 Nov 2017

Definition of aegis

1 : a shield or breastplate emblematic of majesty that was associated with Zeus and Athena
2 a : protection
  • under the aegis of the Constitution
b : controlling or conditioning (see 2condition 5a) influence
  • passed new laws under the aegis of national security
3 a : 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

aegis was our Word of the Day on 02/12/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of aegis in a Sentence

  1. having no claim to the land under the aegis of the law, the cattle baron decided to claim it by force

  2. a medical study that was questioned by many because it was done under the aegis of a major pharmaceutical company

Recent Examples of aegis from the Web

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.

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 16th century as a noun meaning "shield" or "protection," and by the 20th century it had acquired the extended senses of "auspices" or "sponsorship."

Origin and Etymology of 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"

AEGIS Defined for English Language Learners

aegis

noun

Definition of aegis for English Language Learners

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


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