• synonyms


  1. the act of protecting or the state of being protected; preservation from injury or harm.
  2. a thing, person, or group that protects: This vaccine is a protection against disease.
  3. patronage.
  4. Insurance. coverage(def 1).
  5. Informal.
    1. money paid to racketeers for a guarantee against threatened violence.
    2. bribe money paid to the police, politicians, or other authorities for overlooking criminal activity.
  6. Economics. protectionism.
  7. a document that assures safety from harm, delay, or the like, for the person, persons, or property specified in it.
  8. Archaic. a document given by the U.S. customs authorities to a sailor traveling abroad certifying that the holder is a citizen of the U.S.
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Origin of protection

1275–1325; Middle English proteccio(u)n < Late Latin prōtēctiōn- (stem of prōtēctiō) a covering in front. See protect, -ion
Related formspro·tec·tion·al, adjectivenon·pro·tec·tion, nouno·ver·pro·tec·tion, noun

Synonyms for protection

Synonym study

2. See cover.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for overprotection


  1. the act of protecting or the condition of being protected
  2. something that protects
    1. the imposition of duties or quotas on imports, designed for the protection of domestic industries against overseas competition, expansion of domestic employment, etc
    2. Also called: protectionismthe system, policy, or theory of such restrictionsCompare free trade
  3. a document that grants protection or immunity from arrest or harassment to a person, esp a traveller
  4. mountaineering security on a climb provided by running belays, etc
  5. informal
    1. Also called: protection moneymoney demanded by gangsters for freedom from molestation
    2. freedom from molestation purchased in this way
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Derived Formsprotectionism, nounprotectionist, noun, adjective
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 overprotection


1929, originally in reference to children, from over- + protection.

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mid-14c., "shelter, defense; keeping, guardianship;" late 14c. as "that which protects," from Old French proteccion "protection, shield" (12c.) and directly from Late Latin protectionem (nominative protectio) "a covering over," noun of action from past participle stem of protegere "protect, cover in front," from pro- "in front" + tegere "to cover" (see stegosaurus).

A common Old English word for "protect" was beorgan. International economic sense is from 1789. In gangster sense, "freedom from molestation in exchange for money," it is attested from 1860. Ecological sense of "attempted preservation by laws" is from 1880 (originally of wild birds in Britain). Also in medieval England, "the protection or maintenance of a lord or patron; sponsorship." To put (someone) out of protection meant to deprive him or her of the security of the protection of the kingdom's laws.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper