protect

verb
pro·​tect | \ prə-ˈtekt How to pronounce protect (audio) \
protected; protecting; protects

Definition of protect

transitive verb

1a : to cover or shield from exposure, injury, damage, or destruction : guard
b : defend sense 1c protect the goal
2 : to maintain the status or integrity of especially through financial or legal guarantees: such as
a : to save from contingent financial loss
b : to foster or shield from infringement or restriction salesmen with protected territories protect one's rights specifically : to restrict competition for (something, such as a domestic industry) by means of tariffs or trade controls
3 : defend sense 5 protect a lead

intransitive verb

: to provide a guard or shield protects against tooth decay

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from protect

protectable \ prə-​ˈtek-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce protectable (audio) \ adjective
protective \ prə-​ˈtek-​tiv How to pronounce protective (audio) \ adjective
protectively adverb
protectiveness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for protect

Synonyms

bulwark, cover, defend, fence, fend, forfend, guard, keep, safeguard, screen, secure, shield, ward

Antonyms

assail, assault, attack

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for protect

defend, protect, shield, guard, safeguard mean to keep secure from danger or against attack. defend denotes warding off actual or threatened attack. defend the country protect implies the use of something (such as a covering) as a bar to the admission or impact of what may attack or injure. a hard hat to protect your head shield suggests protective intervention in imminent danger or actual attack. shielded her eyes from the sun with her hand guard implies protecting with vigilance and force against expected danger. White House entrances are well guarded safeguard implies taking precautionary protective measures against merely possible danger. our civil liberties must be safeguarded

Examples of protect in a Sentence

He had no raincoat to protect himself from the rain. She keeps her jewelry protected in a safe. You have to protect your business against fraud. New laws have been passed to protect your privacy. The forest is protected by federal law. The high taxes on imported goods are intended to protect domestic producers. Sunscreen helps to protect against sunburn. The insurance protects you against flooding. The insurance does not protect against damage caused by earthquakes.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Made with premium Nappa leather and impact-resistant polycarbonate, this case will protect your precious pair of AirPods securely and in style, as well as keep your hands preoccupied. Popular Mechanics, "This AirPods Case Is Also a Fidget Spinner," 11 Apr. 2019 Epstein’s deal with prosecutors did more than just protect him. Jane Coaston, Vox, "Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender who is friends with Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, explained," 22 Feb. 2019 Our concerns are largely ignored because there aren’t enough of us in politics to make sure that there is legislation to protect women, give them equal economic access, and ensure that our rights are not infringed upon. Salma Elsayed, Seventeen, "The Women’s March Inspired Me to Run for Office Someday," 18 Jan. 2019 The First Amendment protects political speech; pushing boundaries to test the limits of civil discourse is something very different. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Book tells the inside story of how Reddit came to be the Internet’s “id”," 30 Dec. 2018 The charger will also protect your devices from surges and features in-device temperature control to keep from overheating. Alexandria Haslam, PCWorld, "The Anker PowerPort 6 Lite 6-port USB hub is $12 today, a savings of $8," 14 Nov. 2018 The treaty helps protect the security of the U.S. and its allies in Europe and the Far East, but has constrained the U.S. from developing new weapons. Fox News, "Bolton faces tense talks with Russia over nuclear treaty," 22 Oct. 2018 Scores of lawsuits have been filed following a recent state Supreme Court ruling in Illinois, which has the most stringent privacy law protecting such information in the U.S. Te-ping Chen, WSJ, "Workers Push Back as Companies Gather Fingerprints and Retina Scans," 27 Mar. 2019 There are so many loopholes in gun laws that don’t protect women. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Gun Violence Is a Women's Issue," 27 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'protect.' 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 protect

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for protect

Middle English, from Latin protectus, past participle of protegere, from pro- in front + tegere to cover — more at pro-, thatch

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about protect

Statistics for protect

Last Updated

19 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for protect

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for protect

protect

verb

English Language Learners Definition of protect

: to keep (someone or something) from being harmed, lost, etc.
: to save (someone) from financial loss caused by fire, injury, damage, etc.
sports : to try to stop opponents from scoring at (your goal)

protect

verb
pro·​tect | \ prə-ˈtekt How to pronounce protect (audio) \
protected; protecting

Kids Definition of protect

: keep from being harmed especially by covering or shielding : guard

protect

transitive verb
pro·​tect

Legal Definition of protect

1 : to shield from injury or harm protecting public health and safety
2 : to secure or preserve against encroachment, infringement, restriction, or violation : maintain the status or integrity of especially through legal or constitutional guarantees protect a work against copyright infringement the First Amendment protects speech
3 : to restrict competition for (as domestic industries) by means of tariffs or trade controls

Other Words from protect

protectable or protectible adjective

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on protect

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with protect

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for protect

Spanish Central: Translation of protect

Nglish: Translation of protect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of protect for Arabic Speakers

Comments on protect

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

WORD OF THE DAY

not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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