Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To keep from being damaged, attacked, stolen, or injured; guard. synonym: defend.
  • transitive verb To keep from being subjected to difficulty or unpleasantness.
  • transitive verb To keep from being curtailed or exposed to risk.
  • transitive verb To help (domestic industry) with tariffs or quotas on imported goods.
  • transitive verb To assure payment of (drafts or notes, for example) by setting aside funds.
  • transitive verb Sports To attempt to hold (a lead) by playing careful defense and avoiding risky plays.
  • transitive verb To swing at a pitch near (home plate) in order to avoid being called out on strikes.
  • transitive verb To swing at a pitch so as to give (a base runner) a better chance of advancing.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To cover or shield from danger, harm, damage, trespass, exposure, insult, temptation, or the like; defend; guard; preserve in safety: applied with a wide range, both literally and figuratively, actively and passively.
  • To act as protector or regent for. Compare protector, 2 .
  • Specifically, in political economics, to guard or strengthen against foreign competition by means of a protective duty.
  • Synonyms Defend, Shelter, etc. (see keep), screen, secure.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To cover or shield from danger or injury; to defend; to guard; to preserve in safety.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb To keep safe; to defend; to guard; to prevent harm coming to.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb shield from danger, injury, destruction, or damage
  • verb use tariffs to favor domestic industry

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English protecten, from Latin prōtegere, prōtēct- : prō-, in front; see pro– + tegere, to cover; see (s)teg- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Attested in English since 1530, from Latin protectus ("covered, protected"), past participle of protegere ("to cover the front, protect") from pro- + tegere ("to cover"). More at thatch. Displaced native Middle English helien, forhelian ("to conceal, protect") (from Old English helian, forhelian ("to conceal, cover, hide"), Middle English bischilden, beschielden ("to protect") (from Middle English schild, shelde ("shield")), Middle English berwen, bergen ("to protect, preserve") (from Old English beorgan ("to protect, preserve")), Middle English mundien, mounden ("to protect") (from Old English mundian ("to protect, watch over, act as guardian over")).

Examples

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