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


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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

Example Sentences

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
Once completed, mail-in ballots are returned in nested envelopes that contain verification data, a signature and a serial number or bar code, providing another safeguard for election integrity, Bellovin wrote. Ana Faguy, USA TODAY, 19 Nov. 2022 There are few cars that are this quick yet so easy to push to their limits, especially without any kind of electronic safeguard. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, 1 June 2022 Election officials also ensure that any voter mailing in their ballots cannot then go vote in person again, another safeguard that prevents fraudulent ballots from being counted at the polls, according to Becker. Sudiksha Kochi, USA TODAY, 8 Nov. 2022 On Wednesday, the Justice Department struck a blow for press freedom, helping safeguard journalists’ ability to protect the identity of confidential sources who often alert the public to urgent issues and possible wrongdoing. Richard Galant, CNN, 30 Oct. 2022 If history is any guide, competitive open source text-to-video models may follow (some, like CogVideo, already exist), which could make Meta's watermark safeguard irrelevant. Benj Edwards, Ars Technica, 29 Sep. 2022 And the best safeguard is turning on multi-factor authentication. Leo Schwartz, Fortune, 30 Sep. 2022 That’s a significant safeguard, Barnett said, for anyone concerned about a governor’s actions. Anthony Man, Sun Sentinel, 23 Sep. 2022 That law mandates that families be placed in private rooms with their own bathroom facilities instead of in congregate settings — a safeguard against potential predatory behavior, especially against children. Antonio Olivo, Washington Post, 20 Sep. 2022
Our job at the North Slope Borough is to defend the interests of our eight Iñupiat communities, protect our ancestral lands, and safeguard our cultural traditions. Harry Brower Jr. And Amaulik Edwardsen, WSJ, 26 Sep. 2022 Many individuals use a virtual private network (VPN) to connect their devices or network to the internet to avoid data breaches and safeguard their privacy on the internet. The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 July 2022 Now is the time to prepare for a potential recession and safeguard your business. Samantha Todd, Forbes, 6 July 2022 The sanctuaries are expensive to build and maintain, and can safeguard only relatively small areas. New York Times, 5 June 2022 Those reserves help protect Virginia’s prized triple-A bond rating and can safeguard finances if revenue comes up short. Gregory S. Schneider, Washington Post, 25 Nov. 2022 The store’s owner, Mike Cincunegui, was waiting until Tuesday evening to cover its windows and safeguard his merchandise, which also includes about 90 brands of pre-rolled cigars. Anchorage Daily News, 28 Sep. 2022 Since September, there has been much hand-wringing among the public and pundits alike about the proper way to honor the sovereign and safeguard her legacy. Arianne Chernock, Washington Post, 13 Nov. 2022 Hurricanes and storm surges are battering mangrove forests and wetlands that historically safeguard coastal communities. Brady Dennis, Chris Mooney And Steven Mufson, Anchorage Daily News, 8 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'safeguard.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 4 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

safeguard 1 of 2


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


2 of 2


: to make safe or secure : protect

More from Merriam-Webster on safeguard

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