ae·​gis | \ ˈē-jəs How to pronounce aegis (audio) also ˈā- How to pronounce aegis (audio) \
variants: or less commonly

Essential Meaning of aegis

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

Full 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

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, and it has been depicted in various ways, including as a magical protective cloak made from the skin of the goat that suckled Zeus as an infant and as a shield fashioned by Hephaestus that bore the severed head of the Gorgon Medusa. The word first entered English in the 15th century as a noun referring to the shield or protective garment associated with Zeus or Athena. It later took on a more general sense of "protection" and, by the late-19th century, it had acquired the extended senses of "auspices" and "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 Part of the challenge, church officials say, is that the schools often fell under the aegis of local parishes and religious orders that kept their own records. Dan Frosch, WSJ, 1 Jan. 2022 In parallel, negotiations are also set to be held between Russia and NATO and broader discussions are expected under the aegis of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. NBC News, 23 Dec. 2021 But the 30-minute weekend broadcast, which launched in 2013, has done so under the aegis of WNET, with Hari Sreenivasan as anchor. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 18 Nov. 2021 Under his aegis, Nickelodeon has started to expand its content related to SpongeBob SquarePants, the animated kid favorite, and launched a new series focused on a different character, Patrick Star. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 10 Sep. 2021 Cancer patients are particularly drawn to what’s known as complementary care: up to ninety per cent use some service that falls under the aegis of wellness. Jessica Wapner, The New Yorker, 6 Nov. 2021 Both projects fell under the aegis of Michaels’ Broadway Video production unit. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 3 Oct. 2021 Since the fall of the Venetian Empire in the late 18th century, the region was largely under the aegis of the Austrian Habsburgs, who based their maritime operations from the splendid limestone city of Trieste (now in Italy). Tara Isbabella Burton, WSJ, 22 Sep. 2021 The central pillar of Washington’s post-Cold War grand strategy was a quest to build a liberal international order by promoting free trade and secular democratic governance under the aegis of American power around the world. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, 13 Sep. 2021

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

8 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Aegis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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


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