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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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 Luckily, there are several tools and strategies at their disposal to protect their business and maintain trust with their consumers. Keith Goldstein, Forbes, 2 Aug. 2022 The final season will presumably see the large ensemble cast fighting to protect the general populace and attempting to finally destroy the Upside Down. Wilson Chapman, Variety, 2 Aug. 2022 The sector secured exemptions from state and federal government to remain open, reworking shop floors to protect staff and repurposing production lines to make ventilators and other equipment. Doug Cameron, WSJ, 30 July 2022 The explosive growth forced crews to shift from trying to control the perimeter of the blaze to trying to protect structures and assist in evacuations in California's northernmost Siskiyou County, home to Mount Shasta. CBS News, 30 July 2022 Swipe on a bit of this ultra-thick hand treatment, packed with vitamins and amino acids, to protect and hydrate your hands. Ava Darrin, ELLE, 30 July 2022 An Appleton roofing contractor is being fined $94,263 for failing to protect its workers from falls and properly training them on how to use fall protection, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Ricardo Torres, Journal Sentinel, 29 July 2022 With major change often comes the need to protect one's mental health and finding ways to wind down after a long day, which Reficco says is one of the most important things to her. Priscilla Rodriguez,, 28 July 2022 Grenada needed sea walls to protect its towns against ocean surges and retaining walls to keep its mountainous roads from collapsing. New York Times, 27 July 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

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Protect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 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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