Entries linking to overprotection
word-forming element meaning variously "above; highest; across; higher in power or authority; too much; above normal; outer; beyond in time, too long," from Old English ofer (from PIE root *uper "over"). Over and its Germanic relations were widely used as prefixes, and sometimes could be used with negative force. This is rare in Modern English, but compare Gothic ufarmunnon "to forget," ufar-swaran "to swear falsely;" Old English ofercræft "fraud."
In some of its uses, moreover, over is a movable element, which can be prefixed at will to almost any verb or adjective of suitable sense, as freely as an adjective can be placed before a substantive or an adverb before an adjective. [OED]
Among the old words not now existing are Old English oferlufu (Middle English oferlufe), literally "over-love," hence "excessive or immoderate love." Over- in Middle English also could carry a sense of "too little, below normal," as in over-lyght "of too little weight" (c. 1400), overlitel "too small" (mid-14c.), oversmall (mid-13c.), overshort, etc.
mid-14c., proteccioun, "shelter, defense, that which shields from harm or injury; keeping, guardianship, act or state of protecting;" late 14c. as "that which protects," from Old French proteccion "protection, shield" (12c.) and directly from Late Latin protectionem (nominative protectio) "a covering over," noun of action from past-participle stem of protegere "protect, cover in front," from pro "before" (see pro-) + tegere "to cover" (from PIE root *(s)teg- "to cover"). A common Old English word for "protect" was beorgan.
The political economy sense of "system of fostering a country's industries by means of imposts on products of foreign competitors" is from 1789. As "a writing that guarantees the bearer safety or safe conduct" from mid-15c.; the modern underworld sense of "freedom from molestation in exchange for money" is attested from 1860. The ecological sense of "attempted preservation by laws" is from 1880 (originally of wild birds in Britain).
Also in medieval England, "the protection or maintenance of a lord or patron; sponsorship." To put (someone) out of protection meant to deprive him or her of the security of the protection of the kingdom's laws.
updated on November 10, 2019