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[sheeld] /ʃild/
a broad piece of armor, varying widely in form and size, carried apart from the body, usually on the left arm, as a defense against swords, lances, arrows, etc.
a similar device, often of lightweight plastic, used by riot police to protect themselves from rocks and other thrown objects.
something shaped like a shield, variously round, octagonal, triangular, or somewhat heart-shaped.
a person or thing that protects.
a police officer's, detective's, or sheriff's badge.
Ordnance. a steel screen attached to a gun to protect its crew, mechanism, etc.
Mining. a movable framework for protecting a miner from cave-ins, etc.
Electricity. a covering, usually made of metal, placed around an electric device or circuit in order to reduce the effects of external electric and magnetic fields.
Zoology. a protective plate or the like on the body of an animal, as a scute, enlarged scale, etc.
Heraldry. an escutcheon, especially one broad at the top and pointed at the bottom, for displaying armorial bearings.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Scutum.
Also called continental shield. Geology. a vast area of ancient crustal rocks which, together with a platform, constitutes a craton.
a protective barrier against nuclear radiation, especially a lead or concrete structure around a reactor.
verb (used with object)
to protect (someone or something) with or as if with a shield.
to serve as a protection for.
to hide or conceal; protect by hiding.
Obsolete. to avert; forbid.
verb (used without object)
to act or serve as a shield.
Origin of shield
before 900; (noun) Middle English shelde, Old English sceld; cognate with Dutch, German Schild, Gothic skildus; (v.) Middle English shelden, Old English sceldan, scildan, derivative of the noun
Related forms
shielder, noun
shieldless, adjective
shieldlessly, adverb
shieldlessness, noun
shieldlike, adjective
undershield, noun
unshielded, adjective
unshielding, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for shield
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Could he be asked to shield and protect her, or what would become of her?

    Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • They shield him, too; nobody who wants to reach their hearts must blame him.

    Ester Ried Yet Speaking Isabella Alden
  • I believe it is often the best wisdom to be blind and let God be our eyes as well as our shield.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • Still there was that in them which respected the mother's grief; they tried to shield her.

    Ester Ried Yet Speaking Isabella Alden
  • You acted like a hero in trying to shield Alan Porter, and I like men of that stamp.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
British Dictionary definitions for shield


any protection used to intercept blows, missiles, etc, such as a tough piece of armour carried on the arm
any similar protective device
(heraldry) Also called scutcheon, escutcheon. a pointed stylized shield used for displaying armorial bearings
anything that resembles a shield in shape, such as a prize in a sports competition
the protective outer covering of an animal, such as the shell of a turtle
(physics) a structure of concrete, lead, etc, placed around a nuclear reactor or other source of radiation in order to prevent the escape of radiation
a broad stable plateau of ancient Precambrian rocks forming the rigid nucleus of a particular continent See Baltic Shield, Canadian Shield
short for dress shield
(civil engineering) a hollow steel cylinder that protects men driving a circular tunnel through loose, soft, or water-bearing ground
(informal) the shield
  1. (Austral) short for the Sheffield Shield
  2. (NZ) short for the Ranfurly Shield
(transitive) to protect, hide, or conceal (something) from danger or harm
Derived Forms
shielder, noun
shieldlike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English scield; related to Old Norse skjöldr, Gothic skildus, Old High German scilt shield, Old English sciellshell
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 shield

Old English scield, scild "shield; protector, defense," literally "board," from Proto-Germanic *skelduz (cf. Old Norse skjöldr, Old Saxon skild, Middle Dutch scilt, Dutch schild, German Schild, Gothic skildus), from *skel- "divide, split, separate," from PIE root *(s)kel- (1) "to cut" (see scale (n.1)). Perhaps the notion is of a flat piece of wood made by splitting a log. Shield volcano (1911) translates German Schildvulkan (1910). Plate tectonics sense is from 1906, translating Suess (1888).


Old English gescildan, from the root of shield (n.). Related: Shielded; shielding. Cf. German scilden.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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shield in Medicine

shield (shēld)
A protective device or structure, such as a lead sheet to protect an individual from x-rays.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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shield in Science
  1. A wall or housing of an absorbing material, such as concrete or lead, built around a nuclear reactor to prevent the escape of radiation.

  2. A structure or arrangement of metal plates or mesh designed to protect a piece of electronic equipment from electrostatic or magnetic interference.

  3. A large geographic area where rocks of a continent's craton (the ancient, relatively undisturbed portion of a continental plate) are visible at the surface. A shield is often surrounded by platforms covered with sediment.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for shield



A police officer's badge

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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