sets the attribute Protected for the symbols si.


protects all symbols whose names textually match any of the arbitrary string patterns patti.


protects any symbols that are equal to or whose names match any of the speci.


  • A typical sequence in adding your own rules for builtin functions is Unprotect[f];definition;Protect[f]. »
  • The pattern patt can be given as a string with metacharacters, as StringExpression[] or as RegularExpression["regex"]. »
  • Protect allows abbreviated string patterns containing the following metacharacters:
  • *zero or more characters
    @one or more characters, excluding uppercase letters
  • Protect["context`*"] protects all symbols in a particular context. »
  • Protect["`*"] protects all symbols in the current context. »
  • Protect does not affect symbols with the attribute Locked. »
  • Protect has attribute HoldAll. »


open allclose all

Basic Examples  (1)

Define and protect a function:

The function definition can no longer be changed:

Scope  (7)

Symbol Inputs  (2)

Protect several symbols:

Use a combination of symbols and symbol names:

Only x3 remains unprotected:

Using Patterns  (5)

Specify symbols to protect as string patterns:

Protect all symbols in the current context:

Protect all symbols in a given context:

Protect all 2-character symbols in the current context using StringExpression:

The symbols x1 and x2 were protected, but y remains unaffected:

Protect all 3-character symbols in the current context using RegularExpression:

Applications  (2)

Unprotect a system symbol to make a definition for it:

Restore protection:

Protect all symbols in a package but still allow definitions to be set when the package is reloaded:

Properties & Relations  (6)

Protect[pattern] protects the same symbols as Protect/@Names[pattern]:

Protecting a symbol is equivalent to setting the Protected attribute:

Unprotecting a symbol is equivalent to clearing the Protected attribute:

Protecting a symbol does not affect other attributes:

Protect returns the list of symbols actually protected:

If a symbol is already protected, it is not protected again:

No more definitions can be made for a protected symbol:

To modify definitions of a protected symbol, unprotect it first:

Protect has the attribute HoldAll:

This protects symbol itself:

This protects its value:

Possible Issues  (2)

Protect does not affect locked symbols:

When using a pattern without a context mark, all matching symbols on $ContextPath are protected:

The symbol Cxy was unprotected, along with several system symbols:

Use a pattern with an explicit context mark to avoid potentially matching symbols from system or other contexts:

Unprotect the system symbols that were wrongly protected:

Wolfram Research (1988), Protect, Wolfram Language function, (updated 2022).


Wolfram Research (1988), Protect, Wolfram Language function, (updated 2022).


Wolfram Language. 1988. "Protect." Wolfram Language & System Documentation Center. Wolfram Research. Last Modified 2022.


Wolfram Language. (1988). Protect. Wolfram Language & System Documentation Center. Retrieved from


@misc{reference.wolfram_2022_protect, author="Wolfram Research", title="{Protect}", year="2022", howpublished="\url{}", note=[Accessed: 01-February-2023 ]}


@online{reference.wolfram_2022_protect, organization={Wolfram Research}, title={Protect}, year={2022}, url={}, note=[Accessed: 01-February-2023 ]}