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

Examples of shield in a Sentence

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
The teaser culminates with Ross seemingly transforming into the Red Hulk, who then catches Captain America’s shield and flings it down. Marc Griffin,, 12 July 2024 They will be provided with collared polos, golf sweaters, pants and Zero Restriction rain gear and jackets, all of which will be embroidered with the Presidents Cup logo and corresponding team shield or flag. Jean E. Palmieri, WWD, 10 July 2024
In the news photo that circulated shortly after, taken by Evan Vucci, of the Associated Press, Trump is set against a clear blue sky and four Secret Service agents clutch at him, one of whom stares directly at the camera, his eyes shielded by a pair of black sunglasses. Benjamin Wallace-Wells, The New Yorker, 14 July 2024 The former president could be seen grasping his ear before going down to the ground and being swarmed and shielded by Secret Service agents. Mark Osborne, ABC News, 13 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for shield 

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 24 Jul. 2024.

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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