ae·​gis ˈē-jəs How to pronounce aegis (audio)
ˈā- How to pronounce aegis (audio)
variants or less commonly egis
: a shield or breastplate emblematic of majesty that was associated with Zeus and Athena
: protection
under the aegis of the Constitution
: controlling or conditioning (see condition entry 2 sense 5a) influence
passed new laws under the aegis of national security
: auspices, sponsorship
under the aegis of the museum
: 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, 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 Roku’s ad-sales comes under the aegis of executive Charlie Collier, who joined the company approximately a year earlier. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 8 Nov. 2023 Meanwhile, NBCUniversal News Group, under the aegis of its chairman, Cesar Conde (above, pictured, left), has spent the past few years building a broad portfolio of new streaming products, and appears to be reworking the structure of its news operations to accommodate them. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 9 Oct. 2023 In 2017, the High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices, convened under the aegis of the World Bank, concluded that to adequately limit warming, countries would have to price carbon at $50 to $100 per ton by 2030. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, Foreign Affairs, 11 Sep. 2023 This project about the Project, so to speak, was done under the aegis of the cultural nonprofit UrbanArts. Mark Feeney,, 23 Aug. 2023 With streaming, availability is out of one’s control and movie-watching becomes an activity conducted under the aegis of a big brother, however well-meaning. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 25 Aug. 2023 The shake-up is the second of CBS News’ command structure since 2021 under the aegis of parent corporation Paramount Global, which was formed in 2019 out of the merger of the companies known previously as Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 13 Aug. 2023 Read full article The endeavor brings together a dizzying array of urban planners, architects, and real estate companies, all under the aegis of a supervising legal entity known as US2. James McCown,, 3 Aug. 2023 Life in the refugee camps continues, sometimes resembling normalcy, even under the aegis of disaster. David Alexander, The New Yorker, 28 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'aegis.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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"

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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


Dictionary Entries Near aegis

Cite this Entry

“Aegis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


ae·​gis ˈē-jəs How to pronounce aegis (audio)
: protection sense 1a, defense
under the aegis of the law
: patronage sense 1, sponsorship
under the aegis of the museum

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