1 of 2


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


2 of 2


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
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 Critics say that change removed a key safeguard aimed at protecting people with potentially years or decades of life left. Maria Cheng, Anchorage Daily News, 11 Aug. 2022 Instead, the company can circumvent the safeguard by monitoring copies of messages decrypted and flagged by users. Wired, 11 Aug. 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 Letting judges infer rights in federal spending laws vitiates the constitutional separation of powers and federalism that safeguard individual liberty. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 7 Nov. 2022 Divorce research shows that hitting that 10 year mark doesn’t safeguard relationships. Alexa Mikhail, Fortune, 28 Oct. 2022 The Republic contacted three national experts on museum security, who aren't involved in the university's security plans but are familiar with how museums safeguard their paintings. Anne Ryman, The Arizona Republic, 27 Oct. 2022 Relays are programs that help the Proof of Stake validators—watchdogs who safeguard the network—maximize their profit. Andrew R. Chow, Time, 20 Oct. 2022 These kinds of design details help companies safeguard their equipment. Ali Francis, Bon Appétit, 14 Oct. 2022 The initiative is designed to not only help in the fight against climate change but also to safeguard America’s biodiversity by warding off massive species loss. Emily Pennington, Outside Online, 22 Sep. 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 28 Nov. 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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.