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

Other Words from protect

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for protect



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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 Her character is first introduced as Ruth Clayton, an Earth civilian whom The Doctor shows up to protect from an alien fugitive. Naledi Ushe, USA TODAY, 8 May 2022 The new report highlights the fact that continuous research is being done to determine the safest and best vaccination practices to protect people from severe illness and death from COVID-19. Serena Coady, SELF, 7 May 2022 Unprecedented efforts to protect the real economy from a crash by bailing out the financial system had the troubling side effect of enriching bankers and investors. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, 7 May 2022 Efron plays Charlie’s father, who must protect his daughter (Armstrong) from those who want to harness Charlie’s powers for evil purposes. Michael O'sullivan, Anchorage Daily News, 6 May 2022 Featuring encapsulation technology from Japan to protect skincare ingredients from light exposure and oxidation, Skin Inc.'s products are ideal for a range of skin types since they're expertly customized for each shopper. Tiffany Dodson, Harper's BAZAAR, 6 May 2022 Most likely the website is simply an attempt to cause alarm, and perhaps tempt Russia into moving forces to protect the ten-mile length of the bridge from air, sea, or undersea attacks. David Hambling, Forbes, 6 May 2022 Connecticut was the first state to pass such a statute in 1821 and by 1839, eight states had similar statutes to protect their citizens from dangerous medicines. Kori Rumore, Chicago Tribune, 5 May 2022 The large body offers a comfortable grip and has enough length to protect your hands from the heat. Sarah Wharton, Good Housekeeping, 11 May 2022 See More

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.

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

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Time Traveler for protect

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near protect

protea veld



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Statistics for protect

Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Protect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for protect


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


transitive verb

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

More from Merriam-Webster on protect

Nglish: Translation of protect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of protect for Arabic Speakers


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