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protection (n.)

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.

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Definitions of protection from WordNet

protection (n.)
the activity of protecting someone or something;
the witnesses demanded police protection
protection (n.)
a covering that is intend to protect from damage or injury;
they had no protection from the fallout
wax provided protection for the floors
Synonyms: protective covering / protective cover
protection (n.)
defense against financial failure; financial independence;
insurance provided protection against loss of wages due to illness
Synonyms: security
protection (n.)
the condition of being protected;
he enjoyed a sense of peace and protection in his new home
they were huddled together for protection
Synonyms: shelter
protection (n.)
kindly endorsement and guidance;
Synonyms: auspices / aegis
protection (n.)
the imposition of duties or quotas on imports in order to protect domestic industry against foreign competition;
he made trade protection a plank in the party platform
Synonyms: trade protection
protection (n.)
payment extorted by gangsters on threat of violence;
every store in the neighborhood had to pay him protection
Synonyms: tribute
From wordnet.princeton.edu