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aegis

or e·gis

[ee-jis]
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noun
  1. Classical Mythology. the shield or breastplate of Zeus or Athena, bearing at its center the head of the Gorgon.
  2. protection; support: under the imperial aegis.
  3. sponsorship; auspices: a debate under the aegis of the League of Women Voters.
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Origin of aegis

1695–1705; < Latin < Greek aigís shield of Zeus or Athena, probably from aig- (stem of aíx goat) + -is noun suffix, from a type of shield made of goatskin

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3. patronage.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for aegis

aegis

sometimes US egis

noun
  1. sponsorship or protection; auspices (esp in the phrase under the aegis of)
  2. Greek myth the shield of Zeus, often represented in art as a goatskin
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Word Origin

C18: from Latin, from Greek aigis shield of Zeus, perhaps related to aig-, stem of aix goat
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

Word Origin and History for aegis

n.

"protection," 1793, from Latin aegis, from Greek Aigis, the name of the shield of Zeus, said by Herodotus to be related to aix (genitive aigos) "goat," from PIE *aig- "goat" (cf. Sanskrit ajah, Lithuanian ozys "he-goat"), as the shield was of goatskin. Athene's aigis was a short goat-skin cloak, covered with scales, set with a gorgon's head, and fringed with snakes. The exact use and purpose of it is not now clear.

The goatskin would be worn with the two forelegs tied in front of the wearer's breast, or possibly with the head passed through an opening made at the neck, by the removal of the animal's head. [F. Warre Cornish, ed., "Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities," London, 1898]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper