- to ward off attack from; guard against assault or injury (usually followed by from or against): The sentry defended the gate against sudden attack.
- to maintain by argument, evidence, etc.; uphold: She defended her claim successfully.
- to contest (a legal charge, claim, etc.).
- Law. to serve as attorney for (a defendant): He has defended some of the most notorious criminals.
- to support (an argument, theory, etc.) in the face of criticism; prove the validity of (a dissertation, thesis, or the like) by answering arguments and questions put by a committee of specialists.
- to attempt to retain (a championship title, position, etc.), as in a competition against a challenger.
- Law. to enter or make a defense.
Origin of defend
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for defend
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.The Muslim Cop Killed by Terrorists
January 9, 2015
During coverage of that issue, Farrell went on a WSMB AM radio talk show to defend Duke.The Louisiana Racists Who Courted Steve Scalise
January 3, 2015
When our elected representatives assume their respective offices, they take an oath to “protect and defend the Constitution.”Are Police Stealing People’s Property?
Joan Blades, Matt Kibbe
January 2, 2015
“Once we get to the point of being able to defend the case, then the thing can move forward,” he told the Beast.Prosecutors Have No Idea When 9/11 Mastermind’s Trial Will Start
December 17, 2014
Which politician wants to defend federally-subsidized abortions for convicted criminals?The GOP’s Hidden Ban on Prison Abortions
December 13, 2014
To defend and avenge each other, is the deep feeling of all.The Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, Oregon and California
Brevet Col. J.C. Fremont
Will you then defend a man in speaking things that are not true?Weighed and Wanting
She challenged his philosophy and gave him a chance to defend it.K
Mary Roberts Rinehart
Naturally he felt called upon to endorse his heroine, to defend her.Quaint Courtships
Uncle Joey Fesch joined him, as if to protect and defend him.The Boy Life of Napoleon
- to protect (a person, place, etc) from harm or danger; ward off an attack on
- (tr) to support in the face of criticism, esp by argument or evidence
- to represent (a defendant) in court in a civil or criminal action
- sport to guard or protect (oneself, one's goal, etc) against attack
- (tr) to protect (a championship or title) against a challenge
Word Origin and History for defend
mid-13c., from Old French defendre (12c.) "defend, resist," and directly from Latin defendere "ward off, protect, guard, allege in defense," from de- "from, away" (see de-) + -fendere "to strike, push," from PIE root *gwhen- "to strike, kill" (see bane). In the Mercian hymns, Latin defendet is glossed by Old English gescildeð. Related: Defended; defending.