- life-guard (dated)
life + guard, calque of Dutch lijfgarde, where life has the sense of Dutch lijf (“body”) hence bodyguard. Compare German Leibgarde (“bodyguard”), Danish livgarde (“bodyguard”), Swedish livgarde (“bodyguard”). Compare also Old English līfweard (“guardian of life”).
lifeguard (plural lifeguards)
- A guard of the life or person; a guard that attends a prince or other person; a bodyguard.
- (chiefly US) An attendant, usually an expert swimmer, employed to save swimmers in trouble or near drowning at a body of water.
- A lifesaver.
- (rail transport) A sturdy metal bracket fixed in front of each of the leading wheels of a train to deflect small objects away from the wheels to prevent derailment.