providing protection or shelter.

Origin of protecting

First recorded in 1620–30; protect + -ing2
Related formspro·tect·ing·ly, adverbpro·tect·ing·ness, nounnon·pro·tect·ing, adjectiveun·pro·tect·ing, adjective



verb (used with object)

to defend or guard from attack, invasion, loss, annoyance, insult, etc.; cover or shield from injury or danger.
Economics. to guard (the industry or an industry of a nation) from foreign competition by imposing import duties.
to provide funds for the payment of (a draft, note, etc.).

verb (used without object)

to provide, or be capable of providing, protection: a floor wax that protects as well as shines.

Origin of protect

1520–30; < Latin prōtēctus, past participle of prōtegere to cover in front, equivalent to prō- pro-1 + teg-, stem of tegere to cover (akin to toga, thatch) + -tus past participle suffix
Related formspro·tect·i·ble, pro·tect·a·ble, adjectivepro·tect·i·bil·i·ty, pro·tect·a·bil·i·ty, nouno·ver·pro·tect, verb (used with object)qua·si-pro·tect·ed, adjectivesem·i·pro·tect·ed, adjectiveun·pro·tect·a·ble, adjectiveun·pro·tect·ed, adjectivewell-pro·tect·ed, adjective

Synonyms for protect

Synonym study

1. See defend.

Antonyms for protect

1. attack. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for protecting

Contemporary Examples of protecting

Historical Examples of protecting

  • Sidney was holding the tiny squirrel in warm, protecting hands.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • If God withdrew His protecting hand, I should perish immediately.

  • Katy shook off Linda's protecting arm and straightened suddenly.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • She missed him poignantly, with all the force of her protecting passion.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • Instead she was a lioness, watching over and protecting her sick mate.

    The Monster Men

    Edgar Rice Burroughs

British Dictionary definitions for protecting


verb (tr)

to defend from trouble, harm, attack, etc
economics to assist (domestic industries) by the imposition of protective tariffs on imports
commerce to provide funds in advance to guarantee payment of (a note, draft, etc)

Word Origin for protect

C16: from Latin prōtegere to cover before, from pro- 1 + tegere to cover
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 protecting



mid-15c., from Latin protectus, past participle of protegere "to protect, cover in front" (see protection). International economics sense from 1789. Related: Protected; protecting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper