guard 1 of 2

as in defensive
a position of readiness to oppose actual or expected attack be on your guard against snakes in the swamp

Synonyms & Similar Words

Antonyms & Near Antonyms

as in lock
a protective device (as on a weapon) to prevent accidental operation slid the guard into place over the chainsaw chain

Synonyms & Similar Words

as in guide
one that accompanies another for protection, guidance, or as a courtesy the honor guards raised their sabers as the happy couple descended the church steps

Synonyms & Similar Words



2 of 2


Synonym Chooser

How is the word guard different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of guard are defend, protect, safeguard, and shield. While all these words mean "to keep secure from danger or against attack," guard implies protecting with vigilance and force against expected danger.

White House entrances are well guarded

In what contexts can defend take the place of guard?

The words defend and guard are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, defend denotes warding off actual or threatened attack.

defend the country

When can protect be used instead of guard?

While the synonyms protect and guard are close in meaning, 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

Where would safeguard be a reasonable alternative to guard?

In some situations, the words safeguard and guard are roughly equivalent. However, safeguard implies taking precautionary protective measures against merely possible danger.

our civil liberties must be safeguarded

When is shield a more appropriate choice than guard?

The words shield and guard can be used in similar contexts, but shield suggests protective intervention in imminent danger or actual attack.

shielded her eyes from the sun with her hand

Thesaurus Entries Near guard

Cite this Entry

“Guard.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

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