1 of 2


safe·​guard ˈsāf-ˌgärd How to pronounce safeguard (audio)
: a precautionary measure, stipulation, or device
: a technical contrivance to prevent accident


2 of 2


safeguarded; safeguarding; safeguards

transitive verb

: to provide a safeguard for
: to make safe : protect
Choose the Right Synonym for safeguard

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 safeguard in a Sentence

Noun The new law has safeguards to protect the rights of citizens. There are many safeguards built into the system to prevent fraud. Verb laws that safeguard the rights of citizens You need to safeguard your computer against viruses. There are steps you can take to safeguard against identity theft.
Recent Examples on the Web
Those words were supposed to be a safeguard against eternal suffering after death. Emily Ziff Griffin, The New Yorker, 21 Feb. 2024 To protect civil liberties, the city created a Privacy Advisory Board to help ensure that the technology used is appropriate and that there are safeguards against abuse. The San Diego Union-Tribune Staff, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Feb. 2024 But the single password locking it down might be the only safeguard between you and someone up to no good. Kim Komando, Fox News, 11 Feb. 2024 The Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause, Article I, Section 9, Clause 9, is one safeguard. Bruce Fein, Baltimore Sun, 5 Feb. 2024 After its close call in 2022, Con Ed switched its Manhattan steam and power plant over to oil as a safeguard. Tom Winter, NBC News, 4 Feb. 2024 Meta made clear in Tuesday’s post these safeguards will be limited to static images. Andrew Paul, Popular Science, 7 Feb. 2024 Ideally, Graye adds, this scenario should never come to fruition if proper safeguards are in place. Li Goldstein, Bon Appétit, 6 Feb. 2024 Those safeguards broke down in April 2021, more than two years before Storm-0558 gained access to Microsoft’s network. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 19 Jan. 2024
The plan to legalize cannabis is rooted in the goals of combating the black market, protecting children and young people, and safeguarding public health. Dario Sabaghi, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 By hiring professional fire watch services, everyone present can focus on creating and sharing memories, secure in the knowledge that a team of experts is safeguarding the location against potential fire risks. Kyle Russell, The Arizona Republic, 23 Feb. 2024 It was designed to safeguard public health in downwind states given that air pollutants can migrate great distances — including across state lines. Brendan Rascius, Miami Herald, 21 Feb. 2024 These reduce costs for importers and exporters, and safeguard investments. Shannon K. O’Neil, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 In it, a coalition of intelligence agencies agrees on a secret plan to create an extraterritorial witness protection programme to safeguard – and control – individuals whose revelations could upend global power dynamics. John Hopewell, Variety, 20 Feb. 2024 The museum currently safeguards the remains of 28 people, which were inherited from a collection housed in the old Oakland Public Museum. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, 17 Feb. 2024 Under a law the D.C. Council passed more than a decade ago to safeguard the city’s finances and improve its bond ratings, payments toward debt have to stay beneath 12 percent of total spending. Laura Vozzella, Washington Post, 17 Feb. 2024 Their expertise extends to drafting prenuptial and postnuptial agreements to safeguard clients' interests and assets. Charlotte Observer, 11 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'safeguard.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English saufgarde, from Anglo-French, from sauf safe + garde guard

First Known Use


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


1501, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of safeguard was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near safeguard

Cite this Entry

“Safeguard.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
safe·​guard ˈsāf-ˌgärd How to pronounce safeguard (audio)
: something that protects and gives safety : defense


2 of 2 verb
: to make safe or secure : protect

More from Merriam-Webster on safeguard

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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