1 of 2


plural shields
: a broad piece of defensive armor carried on the arm
: something or someone that protects or defends : defense
A healthy lifestyle may act as a shield against preventable diseases.
: a device or part that serves as a protective cover or barrier
They were covered head to toe in protective gear—rubber boots, gowns, aprons, gloves, masks, head caps and plastic eye shields.Blaine Harden
see also dress shield, face shield, heat shield, windshield
: a protective structure (such as a carapace, scale, or plate) of some animals
: escutcheon
especially : one that is wide at the top and rounds to a point at the bottom
: the Precambrian nuclear mass of a continent that is surrounded and sometimes covered by sedimentary rocks
: something resembling a shield: such as
: a police officer's badge
: a decorative or identifying emblem


2 of 2


shielded; shielding; shields

transitive verb

: to protect with or as if with a shield : provide with a protective cover or shelter
: to cut off from observation : hide
obsolete : forbid
shielder noun
Choose the Right Synonym for shield

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 heat shield on a space shuttle the slightly built boy used his sharp wit as a shield against the school's bullies Verb celebrities who are shielded by a cluster of bodyguards whenever they appear in public she shielded her eyes from the sun with her hand
Recent Examples on the Web
In Uvalde, local police now have additional ballistic shields and helmets, as well as new tools for breaching barricaded doors. Edgar Sandoval, New York Times, 24 May 2023 There is even the shield used by Achilles, played by Brad Pitt, in the 2002 swords-and-sandal epic, Troy. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 May 2023 Lastly, there’s a new VPN icon, too, which will appear as a shield over your internet connection on your taskbar when you’re connected to a virtual private network (VPN). Emma Roth, The Verge, 23 May 2023 Before that, the pop singer hinted at the project’s dark aesthetic by uploading a collage of black and white photos of a knight’s helmet, a metal shield, and three different swords. Thania Garcia, Variety, 15 May 2023 The photo set included a grayscale image of a knight’s helmet, a metal shield, and three different swords. Larisha Paul, Rolling Stone, 15 May 2023 We were left with no alternative but to carry out our pledge to use our bodies as shields. Tulika Bose, Scientific American, 28 Apr. 2023 The ChromaPop lenses adapt to light changes, and the goggle-like size combined with the magnetic side shields protect the eyes from all angles. Cai Cramer, Peoplemag, 19 Apr. 2023 The mini photo shoot features Ross in a strappy ribbed white knit bodysuit and large shield sunglasses. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 7 Apr. 2023
The Taliban’s position is that their gender policies are an internal matter and that shielding Afghan women from foreign-run workplaces is necessary to prevent sin. Steve Coll, The New York Review of Books, 1 June 2023 The war in Ukraine has been a distant prospect for millions of Muscovites, who have been shielded from the human toll of the invasion. Elizabeth Robinson, NBC News, 1 June 2023 Their round-the-clock operation ensures your business is shielded every hour, every day of the year. Jon Stojan, USA TODAY, 31 May 2023 Sponsored by Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, the bill would require social media companies to shield minors from content deemed dangerous. Jesse Greenspan, Scientific American, 26 May 2023 The Columbia brand is a go-to in the outdoor industry, and their Global Adventure Packable Hat II boasts Omni-shade fabric with a UPF of 30 and a 4-inch straight brim to keep you properly shielded while on the go. Rena Behar, Travel + Leisure, 26 May 2023 Prigozhin, however, did not comment on the fact that this effort to shield Russians has been a central strategy of Putin’s since the invasion started. Mary Ilyushina, Washington Post, 24 May 2023 The firearm industry remains largely shielded from liability under federal law. Jonathan Mattise,, 15 May 2023 The author asked to remain anonymous and to shield any identifying details about the edit because of an ongoing relationship with Scholastic. Elizabeth A. Harris, New York Times, 6 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shield.' 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 sheld, from Old English scield; akin to Old High German scilt shield and probably to Old English sciell shell

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of shield was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near shield

Cite this Entry

“Shield.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a broad piece of armor carried on the arm to protect oneself in battle
: something that serves as a defense or protection
: the ancient mass of hard rock that forms the core of a continent


2 of 2 verb
: to cover or screen with or as if with a shield

Medical Definition


: a structure, device, or part that serves as a protective cover or barrier
a lead shield to protect against X-rays

More from Merriam-Webster on shield

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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