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  1. something that serves as a protection or defense or that ensures safety.
  2. a permit for safe passage.
  3. a guard or convoy.
  4. a mechanical device for ensuring safety.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to guard; protect; secure.
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Origin of safeguard

1325–75; Middle English savegarde (noun) safe conduct < Middle French salvegarde, sauvegarde. See safe, guard
Related formsun·safe·guard·ed, adjective

Synonyms for safeguard

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

Related Words for safeguard

security, shield, preserve, insure, secure, defend, assure, ensure, conserve, convoy, bulwark, armor, screen, armament, buffer, guard, defense, aegis, escort, ward

Examples from the Web for safeguard

Contemporary Examples of safeguard

Historical Examples of safeguard

  • Conscience, he said, was the soul's safeguard, and reason the safeguard of the heart and intellect.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • There is a refuge for him, a defence, a safeguard which no material attack can break down.

  • Still, we must safeguard the King's interests and be prepared.

    St. Martin's Summer

    Rafael Sabatini

  • But this very pettiness in our criticism is, fortunately, a sort of safeguard.

    Another Sheaf

    John Galsworthy

  • Truly have we; and if suspicion were a safeguard, nothing can harm us.

    One Of Them

    Charles James Lever

British Dictionary definitions for safeguard


  1. a person or thing that ensures protection against danger, damage, injury, etc
  2. a document authorizing safe-conduct
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  1. (tr) to defend or protect
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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 safeguard


late 14c., "protection, safety," from Middle French sauvegarde "safekeeping, safeguard" (13c.), from Old French salve, sauve (fem. of sauf; see safe (adj.)) + garde "a keeping" (see guard (n.)). Meaning "something that offers security from danger" is recorded from late 15c.

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mid-15c., from safeguard (n.). Related: Safeguarded; safeguarding.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper