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[pruh-tekt] /prəˈtɛkt/
verb (used with object)
to defend or guard from attack, invasion, loss, annoyance, insult, etc.; cover or shield from injury or danger.
Economics. to guard (the industry or an industry of a nation) from foreign competition by imposing import duties.
to provide funds for the payment of (a draft, note, etc.).
verb (used without object)
to provide, or be capable of providing, protection:
a floor wax that protects as well as shines.
Origin of protect
1520-30; < Latin prōtēctus, past participle of prōtegere to cover in front, equivalent to prō- pro-1 + teg-, stem of tegere to cover (akin to toga, thatch) + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
protectible, protectable, adjective
protectibility, protectability, noun
overprotect, verb (used with object)
quasi-protected, adjective
semiprotected, adjective
unprotectable, adjective
unprotected, adjective
well-protected, adjective
1. screen, shelter. See defend.
1. attack. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for protect
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "God protects those who protect themselves," sobbed Maqueda.

    Queen Sheba's Ring H. Rider Haggard
  • It is a faculty which will protect us against all harmful suggestion.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • The result was that I made up my mind that the railroad company must protect itself.

    My Life Josiah Flynt
  • After a time there were laws made to protect the redemptioners.

    Stories of New Jersey Frank Richard Stockton
  • The hand of Providence is everywhere; it will support and protect me.

British Dictionary definitions for protect


verb (transitive)
to defend from trouble, harm, attack, etc
(economics) to assist (domestic industries) by the imposition of protective tariffs on imports
(commerce) to provide funds in advance to guarantee payment of (a note, draft, etc)
Word Origin
C16: from Latin prōtegere to cover before, from pro-1 + tegere to cover
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for protect

mid-15c., from Latin protectus, past participle of protegere "to protect, cover in front" (see protection). International economics sense from 1789. Related: Protected; protecting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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