- money paid to racketeers for a guarantee against threatened violence.
- bribe money paid to the police, politicians, or other authorities for overlooking criminal activity.
Origin of protection
Synonyms for protection
- the imposition of duties or quotas on imports, designed for the protection of domestic industries against overseas competition, expansion of domestic employment, etc
- Also called: protectionismthe system, policy, or theory of such restrictionsCompare free trade
- Also called: protection moneymoney demanded by gangsters for freedom from molestation
- freedom from molestation purchased in this way
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.