Meaning of GUARD in English


I. guard 1 S3 W3 /ɡɑːd $ ɡɑːrd/ BrE AmE noun

[ Date: 1400-1500 ; Language: French ; Origin: garde ]

1 . PERSON [countable]

a) someone whose job is to protect a place or person:

There were two security guards on duty outside the building.

We were stopped by border guards.

Armed guards were posted by the exit.

b) someone whose job is to prevent prisoners from escaping:

The prison guards were reasonably friendly.

2 . PROTECTION [uncountable] the act or duty of protecting places or people, or of preventing prisoners from escaping

be on guard

Who was on guard the night the fire broke out?

keep/stand guard (over somebody/something)

Gunmen stood guard at the camp entrance.

be under (police/armed etc) guard (=to be guarded by a group of people)

He was taken to hospital, where he is now under police guard.


a) [singular] a group of soldiers who guard someone or something:

The President has called in the National Guard.

b) the Guards British English a group of soldiers who protect the king or queen

4 . EQUIPMENT [countable] something that is used to protect someone or something from damage or injury:

a face guard

a fire guard

5 . ON A TRAIN [countable] British English a person whose job is to be in charge of a train SYN conductor American English

6 . on your guard to be paying attention to what is happening in order to avoid danger, being tricked etc:

These men are dangerous so you’ll need to be on your guard.

Something in his tone put her on her guard.

7 . catch/throw somebody off guard to surprise someone by doing something that they are not ready to deal with:

Senator O'Hare was caught off guard by the question.

8 . guard of honour a group of people who walk or stand together at a special occasion in order to show respect:

Police colleagues formed a guard of honour at her funeral.

9 . the old guard a group of people in an organization who want to do things in the way they were done in the past:

the Communist old guard

10 . FIGHTING [singular] the position of holding your arms or hands up in a fight in order to defend yourself:

He swung at me and I brought my guard up.

11 . SPORT [countable]

a) one of two players on a ↑ basketball team who is responsible for moving the ball to help their team gain points

b) one of two players on an American football team who plays either side of the centre

II. guard 2 BrE AmE verb [transitive]

1 . to protect a person, place, or object by staying near them and watching them:

The Sergeant told Swift to guard the entrance.

a lioness guarding her cubs

guard somebody/something against something

There is no one to guard these isolated farms against attack.

2 . to watch a prisoner to prevent them from escaping

3 . to protect something such as a right or a secret by preventing other people from taking it away, discovering it etc:

chiefs who jealously guarded their independence

a closely guarded secret

4 . to prevent another sports player from gaining points, getting the ball etc

guard against something phrasal verb

to prevent something from happening:

Exercise can guard against a number of illnesses.

guard against doing something

Nurses should guard against becoming too attached to their patients.

• • •


▪ protect to keep someone or something safe from harm, damage, or illness:

Don’t worry, I’ll protect you.


The government wants to protect the environment.


Eating healthily helps to protect against many diseases.

▪ give/offer/provide protection to protect someone from something harmful:

Wearing a hat offers some protection from the sun.


The drug can give protection against cancer.


The law provides no protection.

▪ guard to protect a person, place, or object by staying near them and watching them:

Police officers guarded the entrance to the building.


He is guarded by armed men.

▪ save to protect someone or something when they are in danger of being harmed or destroyed:

Local people are fighting to save the theatre from demolition.


Emergency aid could save millions of people who are threatened with starvation.

▪ preserve to keep something, especially buildings or the environment, from being harmed, destroyed, or changed too much:

The organization works to preserve forests.


There is little money for preserving historic buildings.

▪ safeguard to protect something important, such as people’s rights, interests, jobs, health etc:

The deal will safeguard 200 jobs at the factory.


Laws should do more to safeguard the rights of victims.

▪ shield to put something in front of something else to protect it. Also used to talk about protecting people from unpleasant situations:

He lifted his hand to shield his eyes from the light.


They thought the public should be shielded from the truth.

▪ shelter to provide a place where someone or something is protected from the weather or from danger:

The village is sheltered by a belt of trees.


His family had sheltered Jews during the war.

▪ harbour British English , harbor American English to help and protect someone who has done something illegal, and prevent the police from finding them:

He is accused of harbouring suspected terrorists.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.