protect

verb
pro·​tect | \prə-ˈtekt \
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

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Other Words from protect

protectable \prə-​ˈtek-​tə-​bəl \ adjective
protective \prə-​ˈtek-​tiv \ 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

College students began camping out in the street across the embassy to protect the statue from potential attempts to remove it. Mari Yamaguchi, The Seattle Times, "AP Explains: Dispute between Seoul, Tokyo over WWII brothels," 21 Nov. 2018 Some argue that the companies have bowed to misplaced Republican criticism about bias — President Trump falsely accused Google in August of playing down his State of the Union — in order to protect their businesses from political pressure. Casey Newton, The Verge, "How Mark Zuckerberg became a wartime CEO," 20 Nov. 2018 Allergy-proof covers for objects like your mattress, comforter, and pillows can be very effective in protecting from allergens like dust mites, Taha Al-Shaikhly, M.D., an allergy and immunology fellow at UW Medicine, tells SELF. Colleen Stinchcombe, SELF, "13 Ways to Triumph Over Fall Allergies," 13 Nov. 2018 It's gotten so high that most Venetian museums closed for the day on October 29 to protect artifacts from the rising waters. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Make the Most of Venice When it Floods," 2 Nov. 2018 As next month's midterm elections approach and the 2020 presidential race looms in the distance, ensuring voter rolls remain protected from all manner of hacks and outside manipulation is paramount. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "A Shim Made From a Soda Can Can Break Into Voting Machines," 17 Oct. 2018 Once all of the paint has dried, spray your finished pumpkin with a sealant spray to protect the paint from chipping, or washing away in the rain. Alyssa Fiorentino, House Beautiful, "This Is The Best Way To Paint A Pumpkin," 9 Oct. 2018 Defense hawks tried to erect firewalls to protect the Pentagon from the axe. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Trump, GOP plan to rescind budget spending has precedent but rocky path in Congress," 2 Oct. 2018 The magnetosphere plays a crucial role in protecting Earth from solar radiation. Meghan Bartels, Space.com, "Long-Lost Spacecraft That NASA Rediscovered This Year Is Incommunicado," 30 Aug. 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for protect

Last Updated

29 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for protect

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

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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 \
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

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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

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