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  • IPA(key): /ʃiːld/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːld

Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English scheld, shelde, from Old English scield (shield), from Proto-Germanic *skelduz (shield), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)kelH- (cut, split). Cognate with West Frisian skyld, Dutch schild (shield), German Schild (shield), Danish skjold (shield), Icelandic skjöldur (shield) and Faroese skjøldur (shield)

Compare Latin scūtum (shield), Irish sciath (shield), Latgalian škīda (shield), Lithuanian skydas (shield), Russian щит (ščit, shield), from Proto-Indo-European *skewH- (to cover, protect), Proto-Indo-European *skey- (to cut, split).


shield (plural shields)

  1. Anything that protects or defends; defense; shelter; protection.
    1. A broad piece of defensive armor, carried on the arm, formerly in general use in war, for the protection of the body.
      • 1592, William Shakespeare, Richard III, Act 4, Scene 3, line 56:
        Go muster men. My counsel is my shield; We must be brief when traitors brave the field.
      • 1599, William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act III, Scene II, line 8:
        Knock go and come; God's vassals drop and die; And sword and shield, In bloody field, Doth win immortal fame.
      • 1786, Francis Grose, A Treatise on Ancient Armour and Weapons, page 22:
        The shields used by our Norman ancestors were the triangular or heater shield, the target or buckler, the roundel or rondache, and the pavais, pavache, or tallevas.
      • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 8, in The Celebrity:
        My client welcomed the judge […] and they disappeared together into the Ethiopian card-room, which was filled with the assegais and exclamation point shields Mr. Cooke had had made at the sawmill at Beaverton.
    2. (figuratively) One who protects or defends.
      • 1611, The Holy Bible, King James Version edition, Genesis 15:1:
        Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
    3. (lichenology) In lichens, a hardened cup or disk surrounded by a rim and containing the fructification, or asci.
    4. (mining) A framework used to protect workmen in making an adit under ground, and capable of being pushed along as excavation progresses.
    5. (science fiction) A field of energy that protects or defends.
  2. A shape like that of a shield; usually, an inverted triangle with sides that curve inward to form a pointed bottom, commonly used for police identifications and company logos.
    1. (heraldry) The escutcheon or field on which are placed the bearings in coats of arms.
    2. (Scotland, euphemistic, obsolete) A toilet seat.
    3. A spot resembling, or having the form of a shield.
    4. (obsolete) A coin, the old French crown, or écu, having on one side the figure of a shield.
    5. (transport) A sign or symbol, usually containing numbers and sometimes letters, identifying a highway route.
    6. (colloquial, law enforcement) A police badge.
  3. (geology) A large expanse of exposed stable Precambrian rock.
    1. (geology) A wide and relatively low-profiled volcano, usually composed entirely of lava flows.
  4. (figuratively, Scotland, euphemistic, obsolete) A place with a toilet seat: an outhouse; a lavatory.
  5. (automotive, British) Parts at the front and back of a vehicle which are meant to absorb the impact of a collision
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From Old English scieldan.


shield (third-person singular simple present shields, present participle shielding, simple past and past participle shielded)

  1. To protect, to defend.
    • 2004, Chris Wallace, “Character: Profiles in Presidential Courage”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      Shots rang out and a 15-year-old boy, shielding a woman from the line of fire, was killed.
  2. (electricity) to protect from the influence of
Derived termsEdit