Synonym Chooser

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

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

When is defend a more appropriate choice than protect?

The words defend and protect can be used in similar contexts, but defend denotes warding off actual or threatened attack.

defend the country

When is it sensible to use guard instead of protect?

In some situations, the words guard and protect are roughly equivalent. However, guard implies protecting with vigilance and force against expected danger.

White House entrances are well guarded

When can safeguard be used instead of protect?

Although the words safeguard and protect have much in common, safeguard implies taking precautionary protective measures against merely possible danger.

our civil liberties must be safeguarded

When would shield be a good substitute for protect?

While in some cases nearly identical to protect, shield suggests protective intervention in imminent danger or actual attack.

shielded her eyes from the sun with her hand

Thesaurus Entries Near protect

Cite this Entry

“Protect.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on protect

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