Definition of protect in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Keep safe from harm or injury.

    ‘he tried to protect Kelly from the attack’
    no object ‘certain vitamins may protect against heart disease’
    • ‘It has directly lied about these events to protect its soldiers.’
    • ‘The base was a mile below the surface and was also protected by an energy shield.’
    • ‘I promised to protect you, all those years ago at the orphanage, and that's what I am doing right now.’
    • ‘Holding shares will not protect workers from job losses or attacks on conditions.’
    • ‘Recent research shows that only half the dogs and cats in the UK are fully protected against infectious diseases.’
    • ‘Framed in a rich tortoiseshell, their square amber lenses protect against UV damage.’
    • ‘We have rights which are constitutionally protected and we have the right to exercise those rights.’
    • ‘How come this stuff wasn't protected by attorney-client privilege?’
    • ‘The same, however, is not the case for items protected by copyright.’
    • ‘However, they should be treated differently and part of their privacy is not protected by law.’
    • ‘Also try to place your containers in an area that is protected from wind.’
    • ‘Fortunately it was a thick material so as to protect the thing better.’
    • ‘Can you give me some examples of what can happen if moral rights aren't protected by legislation?’
    • ‘Hanging begonias should also be protected from strong winds as much as possible.’
    • ‘I thought my privacy was protected by the constitution.’
    • ‘They did not take my fears seriously and they went back on their promise to protect me.’
    • ‘A number of acute-phase reactants protect against tissue injury in response to heat stress.’
    • ‘She must accept the inevitable and protect against the greater harm.’
    • ‘I hope outrage is expressed - we have got to protect what we have.’
    • ‘Another essential fat, omega - 3, also protects against heart disease.’
    keep safe, keep from harm, save, safeguard, shield, preserve, defend, cushion, shelter, screen, secure, fortify, guard, mount guard on, stand guard on
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1often as adjective protected Aim to preserve (a threatened plant or animal species) by legislating against collecting or hunting.
      • ‘In Australia, South Africa, and California, three of the epicenters of the great white's activity, the infamous species is protected by law.’
      • ‘At least eight other glacial relict snail species are also protected on these sites.’
      • ‘We must continue to try to protect the many species that are being threatened with extinction by our actions.’
      • ‘After all, our ‘protected species’ must remain protected!’
      • ‘The super predator of the times, the tiger, is perhaps the most high profile species being protected against a host of threats from humans.’
      • ‘The beech, ash and holly trees on the site are all protected by tree preservation orders and the parish council was asked to submit a planning application, which it did.’
      • ‘Networks of reserves, areas where species are protected, are recognized as an important instrument for conserving marine wildlife.’
      • ‘As for the wild yak, all that shooting over the years has decimated its numbers so that the wild animals are now a protected species with their own nature preserve.’
      • ‘Environmental and ecological surveys were carried out before work started to ensure protected species which could have been inhabiting the area were not disturbed.’
      • ‘Lack of socialization of the law by the conservation office is frequently blamed for the flourishing trade in souvenirs made from protected animal parts in the province.’
      • ‘Sichang Island is also home to the white squirrel, an exotic rare species now protected by preservation laws enacted in 1994.’
      • ‘Fortunately, many of our delisted species are protected by other pieces of legislation.’
      • ‘Nobody had made them aware of which species were protected by law.’
      • ‘The 60 New Zealand species are protected by law and humans can no longer collect and keep them.’
      • ‘More than 70 per cent of these were from species protected by international law.’
      • ‘Woodland at the back of the car park is also home to stag beetles, a partially protected species, and has been listed as an archaeology priority zone.’
      • ‘Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, anyone killing a protected bird or animal faces fines of up £5,000 and possible imprisonment.’
      • ‘Finally, there is no evidence to suggest that the proposed development would reduce security, jeopardise protected wildlife species or put pressure on local facilities or services in the area.’
      • ‘How can wild species be protected if you are unprepared to upset the farmers and tackle the degradation of the countryside caused by the common agricultural policy?’
      • ‘Has the Minister received any proposals that possums, stoats, and any other invasive species be protected by the Department of Conservation for the benefit of game hunters?’
    2. 1.2often as adjective protected Restrict by law access to or development of (land) so as to preserve its natural state.
      ‘logging is continuing in protected areas in violation of an international agreement’
      • ‘National Park chiefs have given two Dales villages conservation area status to protect them from inappropriate development.’
      • ‘The area of blanket bog protected is 35,397 ha, or 88% of the official blanket bog target.’
      • ‘They are also involved in improving public access, protecting agricultural lands, and restoring urban waterfronts.’
      • ‘Water quality in reservoirs will also be improved and the forests in their catchment areas better protected.’
      • ‘Since then areas have been marked off as reef preserves or protected areas, and many of the dive sites have been buoyed.’
      • ‘Even areas protected as parkland have suffered significant losses of native plant species.’
      • ‘None of the commercial hunters I have met would have starved if he had refrained from hunting totally protected species.’
      • ‘At the moment less than 5% of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is actually protected as no-take areas and that clearly has to change.’
      • ‘The final hurdle has at last been overcome in the battle to give Middleton protected Conservation Area status.’
      • ‘The decision opens the previously protected areas to development.’
      • ‘Up until then, they'd been a relatively protected species.’
      • ‘Known endangered species are currently protected from any form of testing by law, with the exception of testing a cure which may be for the benefit of the particular species.’
      • ‘In the southeast quadrant, the remaining primary forest has been set aside as a conservation area protected by legislation and supernatural strictures.’
      • ‘The county development plan envisioned The Curragh being designated a national park and protected from development as an Area of Special Amenity.’
      • ‘This ‘new’ land is increasingly being taken from areas with deep peat soils and is thus nominally protected from development.’
      • ‘Many of the actions required are already within the scope of existing conventions concerned with wildlife conservation, insofar as they list marine species or marine protected areas on their annexes.’
      • ‘The local council plans to demolish over 400 houses in blocks immediately adjacent to almost indistinguishable streets protected as a conservation area.’
      • ‘None of the sites are protected from agricultural development.’
      • ‘Sadly all these developments are taking place in areas that were previously protected from any tourist development projects.’
      • ‘In the last 70 years, extirpations have continued even in natural areas protected in parks.’
      secured, sheltered, in safe hands, safe, guarded, out of danger, safeguarded, preserved
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 (of an insurance policy) promise to pay (someone) an agreed amount in the event of loss, injury, fire, theft, or other misfortune.
      ‘in the event of your death, your family will be protected against any financial problems that may arise’
      • ‘Insurance protects you against assorted material and personal losses; surety bonding promises performance on contracts.’
      • ‘Watercraft liability covers you just like car liability insurance protects you in the event of an accident where you are found to be at fault.’
      • ‘Collision Damage Waver insurance is important but only protects you from financial loss in respect to the vehicle.’
      • ‘Basic coverage will protect you against fire, vandalism, lightning, and water damage.’
      • ‘You can't eliminate the risks of travel, but travel insurance can protect you against financial loss.’
    4. 1.4Economics Shield (a domestic industry) from competition by imposing import duties on foreign goods.
      • ‘An attempt to protect domestic industry can do nothing to change this reality.’
      • ‘He said in this case it was the duty of the Government to set up safeguard measures to protect the domestic industry.’
      • ‘A new structure of tariffs on imports is designed to further protect Russian industries from foreign competition.’
      • ‘The Republicans claimed that such interventions were necessary not only for financing government but also for protecting domestic industry and jobs.’
      • ‘High-cost industries were protected from competition by institutional privileges and geographical barriers to trade.’
    5. 1.5Computing Restrict access to or use of (data or a memory location)
      ‘security products are designed to protect information from unauthorized access’
      • ‘It also protects information stored on memory cards.’
      • ‘When you submit sensitive information via the Web site, your information is protected both online and off-line.’
      • ‘The locked box may be an operating system using a secure file system to protect data from unauthorized access.’
      • ‘These domains were protected from one another by internal firewalls and perimeter security.’
      • ‘Additionally, the company agreed not to misrepresent the extent to which it protects customer information from unauthorized access.’


Late Middle English: from Latin protect- ‘covered in front’, from the verb protegere, from pro- ‘in front’ + tegere ‘to cover’.