[ pruh-tek-ter-it ]
/ prəˈtɛk tər ɪt /


the relation of a strong state toward a weaker state or territory that it protects and partly controls.
a state or territory so protected.
the office or position, or the term of office, of a protector.
the government of a protector.
(initial capital letter) English History. the period (1653–59) during which Oliver and Richard Cromwell held the title of Lord Protector, sometimes extended to include the period of the restoration of the Rump Parliament (1659–60).

Nearby words

  1. protective slope,
  2. protective system,
  3. protective tariff,
  4. protectively,
  5. protector,
  6. protectory,
  7. protectress,
  8. protege,
  9. protei,
  10. proteid

Origin of protectorate

First recorded in 1685–95; protector + -ate3 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for protectorate

British Dictionary definitions for protectorate


/ (prəˈtɛktərɪt) /


  1. a territory largely controlled by but not annexed to a stronger state
  2. the relation of a protecting state to its protected territory
the office or period of office of a protector
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 protectorate



1690s in reference to the government by the Cromwells; 1795 as "occupied territory of another nation," from protector + -ate (1). Meaning "state or territory (usually tribal) placed under the protection of a major power" is from 1860.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for protectorate


[ (pruh-tek-tuhr-uht) ]

A relationship between a strong sovereign nation and a weak nation or area not recognized as a nation. Once the strong nation has established a protectorate over a weak nation, it can control the latter's affairs.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.