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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
  • The shale gas industry maintains that it takes care to protect drinking water and land.
  • Last month, the department sent a letter to colleges urging them to take steps to protect the student-aid programs.
  • Hyperactive immune systems may protect against cancer.
  • Provide two or three alternatives that could help to protect terrestrial or marine ecosystems.
  • Our government here exists to protect our rights, not grant them.
  • Birds produce chemicals that they spread over their feathers to protect themselves from pathogens.
  • Simple project to protect tender plants in winter.
  • It'll protect you from injuries, monitor your vitals and even harvest your energy.
  • But new efforts to protect marine creatures have gained surprising support from researchers, regulators, engineers and fishermen.
  • The best way to protect them would be to legalise and regulate the industry.
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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