ae·​gis | \ ˈē-jəs How to pronounce aegis (audio) also ˈā- How to pronounce aegis (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Both are under the aegis of Italian-American chef Giancarla Bodoni, who also steers Monteverdi's Culinary Academy. Lee Marshall, Travel + Leisure, "Live La Dolce Vita at These Stunning Tuscan Hotels and Villas," 1 May 2021 Since 2008, the Lenape Center of Manhattan has maintained an active office, under the aegis of the New York Foundation for the Arts, in the core of what its directors call Lenapehoking: the Lenape homeland. Joshua Jelly-schapiro, The New Yorker, "How New York Was Named," 13 Apr. 2021 The old comrades would now co-sponsor a bus-tour road show of rallies under the aegis of her current group, Women for America First. Adele M. Stan, The New Republic, "Insurrectionist in Chief," 10 Mar. 2021 The Journal of Schenkerian Studies, published under the aegis of the University of North Texas, was read by a small but intense coterie of scholars. New York Times, "Obscure Musicology Journal Sparks Battles Over Race and Free Speech," 14 Feb. 2021 The Madrid Conference in March of that year brought together delegations from Israel, Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon, as well as a Jordanian-Palestinian delegation, under the aegis of the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Daphne Merkin, The New Republic, "The Human Factor Tallies the What Ifs of Israel-Palestine Peace Talks," 8 Feb. 2021 Dallas County, predominantly Democratic, has been thwarted by the state health department, under the aegis of a Republican governor, which quashed the county’s plan to give vaccines to certain minority neighborhoods first. New York Times, "The Wealthy Are Getting More Vaccinations, Even in Poorer Neighborhoods," 2 Feb. 2021 The effort came under the aegis of Project Roomkey, a statewide program to house people during the pandemic. Benjamin Oreskes, Los Angeles Times, "‘Manna from heaven’: L.A. officials say Biden funding could get thousands of homeless off streets," 27 Jan. 2021 The fact that Chileans voted to elect constituents who are not in Congress highlights an awkward dynamic: The constitutional project will unfold under the aegis of a government and Congress widely viewed as having failed their people. Star Tribune, "Eager for change, Chile faces long road to new constitution," 27 Oct. 2020

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.

See More

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"

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about aegis

Time Traveler for aegis

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about aegis

Statistics for aegis

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Aegis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for aegis



English Language Learners Definition of aegis

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

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

Comments on aegis

What made you want to look up aegis? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!