tr.v. pro·tect·ed, pro·tect·ing, pro·tects
a. To keep from being damaged, attacked, stolen, or injured; guard. See Synonyms at defend.
b. To keep from being subjected to difficulty or unpleasantness: a mother who wanted to protect her children from the troubles she had seen when growing up.
c. To keep from being curtailed or exposed to risk: The reporter vowed to protect the privacy of his sources.
2. To help (domestic industry) with tariffs or quotas on imported goods.
3. To assure payment of (drafts or notes, for example) by setting aside funds.
4. Sports To attempt to hold (a lead) by playing careful defense and avoiding risky plays.
a. To swing at a pitch near (home plate) in order to avoid being called out on strikes.
b. To swing at a pitch so as to give (a base runner) a better chance of advancing.
[Middle English protecten, from Latin prōtegere, prōtēct- : prō-, in front; see PRO-1 + tegere, to cover; see (s)teg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.