I am translating an English text, which has the following sentence:

The operative word is “protect”. As in protecting our religion.

First I would think that “as in” is a set phrase. But there is no definition that I was able to find after quite some searching.

So I would tend to think that then the meaning is literally “like in the phrase...”

Is that correct? Anybody can point me to a definition? Thanks in advance.

  • I just googled "as in" meaning (note the quotes) and got lots of useful results. – Max Williams Jun 13 '16 at 8:07
  • 2
    @MaxWilliams I did that too of course, but no definitive answer, that is why I asked. – ib11 Jun 20 '16 at 20:40
  • Yes, ib11, “as in” does have that meaning and did you notice two other things? That “like in the phrase...” uses “in” broadly means you’re defining the phrase in terms of itself… which can hardly be clear. With no other data, “The operative word is “protect”. As in protecting our religion” looks quite likely to raise at least as many questions as it answers. – Robbie Goodwin Feb 6 '18 at 1:29

A word may be defined in more than one way or may have usage in more than one sense.

Explaining a word further with the phrase as in is to provide an example case where the meaning of the word is easily understood and thus acts to guide the reader.

In the instant case,

… “protect”. As in protecting our religion. …

explains that the author used the word protect in the same sense as it is used in the phrase protecting our religion.


See also:
as-in (conjunctive) In the sense of
Bow as in the weapon, not the front of a ship.
along with
on YourDictionary.com / Wiktionary


As in is what we call in English a phrasal preposition, which is simply when two or more words have been squeezed together to act as a preposition. The same concept applies to the phrases out of, on top of, in front of, because of, etc.

The phrasal preposition as in is commonly used to mean "which is..." or "which means..." and usually clarifies the meaning of a noun. Here are some examples to demonstrate this.

  1. I like the bow (as in the weapon, not the front of the ship).

  2. I like Jerry Lewis (as in our neighbor, not the comedian).


  1. https://www.shmoop.com/grammar/prepositions/phrasal.html

"As" is a conjunction and "in" is a preposition. "X as in Y" could be short for many different clauses as follows:

as (X is meant) in Y

as (they mean X) in Y

as (X is used to mean X) in Y

as (X could be synonymous with Y) in Y, etc.

The clauses in the parentheses could be understood contextually and there is no need to write them. "As in" doesn't necessarily mean "for example" or "like".

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