verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to act or serve as a shield.

Origin of shield

before 900; (noun) Middle English shelde, Old English sceld; cognate with Dutch, German Schild, Gothic skildus; (v.) Middle English shelden, Old English sceldan, scildan, derivative of the noun
Related formsshield·er, nounshield·less, adjectiveshield·less·ly, adverbshield·less·ness, nounshield·like, adjectiveun·der·shield, nounun·shield·ed, adjectiveun·shield·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shield

Contemporary Examples of shield

Historical Examples of shield

  • Could he be asked to shield and protect her, or what would become of her?


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • They shield him, too; nobody who wants to reach their hearts must blame him.

  • I believe it is often the best wisdom to be blind and let God be our eyes as well as our shield.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Still there was that in them which respected the mother's grief; they tried to shield her.

  • You acted like a hero in trying to shield Alan Porter, and I like men of that stamp.


    W. A. Fraser

British Dictionary definitions for shield



any protection used to intercept blows, missiles, etc, such as a tough piece of armour carried on the arm
any similar protective device
Also called: scutcheon, escutcheon heraldry a pointed stylized shield used for displaying armorial bearings
anything that resembles a shield in shape, such as a prize in a sports competition
the protective outer covering of an animal, such as the shell of a turtle
physics a structure of concrete, lead, etc, placed around a nuclear reactor or other source of radiation in order to prevent the escape of radiation
a broad stable plateau of ancient Precambrian rocks forming the rigid nucleus of a particular continentSee Baltic Shield, Canadian Shield
short for dress shield
civil engineering a hollow steel cylinder that protects men driving a circular tunnel through loose, soft, or water-bearing ground
the shield informal
  1. Australian short for the Sheffield Shield
  2. NZ short for the Ranfurly Shield


(tr) to protect, hide, or conceal (something) from danger or harm
Derived Formsshielder, nounshieldlike, adjective

Word Origin for shield

Old English scield; related to Old Norse skjöldr, Gothic skildus, Old High German scilt shield, Old English sciell shell
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 shield

Old English scield, scild "shield; protector, defense," literally "board," from Proto-Germanic *skelduz (cf. Old Norse skjöldr, Old Saxon skild, Middle Dutch scilt, Dutch schild, German Schild, Gothic skildus), from *skel- "divide, split, separate," from PIE root *(s)kel- (1) "to cut" (see scale (n.1)). Perhaps the notion is of a flat piece of wood made by splitting a log. Shield volcano (1911) translates German Schildvulkan (1910). Plate tectonics sense is from 1906, translating Suess (1888).


Old English gescildan, from the root of shield (n.). Related: Shielded; shielding. Cf. German scilden.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

shield in Medicine




A protective device or structure, such as a lead sheet to protect an individual from x-rays.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

shield in Science



A wall or housing of an absorbing material, such as concrete or lead, built around a nuclear reactor to prevent the escape of radiation.
A structure or arrangement of metal plates or mesh designed to protect a piece of electronic equipment from electrostatic or magnetic interference.
A large geographic area where rocks of a continent's craton (the ancient, relatively undisturbed portion of a continental plate) are visible at the surface. A shield is often surrounded by platforms covered with sediment.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.