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

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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

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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

They are still protected by SafeSport and served by national governing bodies such as U.S. Equestrian. Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY, "Horse trainer's suicide has equestrian community questioning sexual abuse investigations," 9 July 2019 But three claims are preserved as the Roe case heads toward trial: negligence, the negligent infliction of emotional distress and, now, the fiduciary duty to protect. Josh Kovner, courant.com, "Federal judge’s ruling moves former Hotchkiss School student’s sexual abuse lawsuit toward trial," 9 July 2019 Luckily, tools to protect your mini come in myriad shapes and sizes these days: gone are the bulky plastic cabinet locks of years past. Ariel Okin, Vogue, "How to Babyproof Your Home Without Sacrificing Style," 9 July 2019 Mainland media censored most of these incidents, but in Hong Kong, where freedom of the press is protected by the special region’s semiautonomous legal system, teenagers were watching. Alice Su, latimes.com, "In Hong Kong, one protester pulls off his mask and defines a movement," 6 July 2019 My speech and this column is protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Doreen Christensen, sun-sentinel.com, "How a hasty Facebook post became a lesson in understanding diabetes | Doreen Christensen," 5 July 2019 Yet generations of football and other sports participants have been under the assumption that their brains are protected by their investment in head wear protection. San Diego Union-Tribune, "It took decades, but football helmet testing is becoming more sophisticated," 5 July 2019 Iguanas are allowed to be kept as pets in Florida but are not protected by any law except anti-cruelty to animals, according to the commission. Curt Anderson, orlandosentinel.com, "State declares open season on pesky South Florida iguanas," 3 July 2019 There are about 5,800 species of animals and 30,000 species of plants protected by CITES currently. Rachel Fobar, National Geographic, "What is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species?," 3 July 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.

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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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Learn More about protect

Statistics for protect

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

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 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

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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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