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tr.v. pro·tect·ed, pro·tect·ing, pro·tects
a. To keep from being damaged, attacked, stolen, or injured; guard. See Synonyms at defend.
b. To keep from being subjected to difficulty or unpleasantness: a mother who wanted to protect her children from the troubles she had seen when growing up.
c. To keep from being curtailed or exposed to risk: The reporter vowed to protect the privacy of his sources.
2. To help (domestic industry) with tariffs or quotas on imported goods.
3. To assure payment of (drafts or notes, for example) by setting aside funds.
4. Sports To attempt to hold (a lead) by playing careful defense and avoiding risky plays.
a. To swing at a pitch near (home plate) in order to avoid being called out on strikes.
b. To swing at a pitch so as to give (a base runner) a better chance of advancing.
[Middle English protecten, from Latin prōtegere, prōtēct- : prō-, in front; see pro-1 + tegere, to cover; see (s)teg- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
in a protective manner
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014