- resistance against attack; protection: Two more regiments are needed for the defense of the city.
- something that defends, as a fortification, physical or mental quality, or medication: This fort was once the main defense of the island.
- the defending of a cause or the like by speech, argument, etc.: He spoke in defense of the nation's foreign policy.
- a speech, argument, etc., in vindication: She delivered a defense of free enterprise.
- Psychology. defense mechanism(def 2).
- the practice or art of defending oneself or one's goal against attack, as in fencing, boxing, soccer, or football.
- the team attempting to thwart the attack of the team having the ball or puck.
- the players of a team who line up in their own defensive zone.
- the positions on the field, ice, etc., taken by such players.
- (initial capital letter) Also called Defense Department. Informal. the Department of Defense.
- Sports. to defend against (an opponent, play, or tactic).
Origin of defense
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for defense
But, but … there was a token black girl in the background, Target cried in its defense!One Vogue Cover Doesn’t Solve Fashion’s Big Race Problem
January 2, 2015
Among other things, the bill appropriates $1.1 trillion in funding—including over $550 billion for the Department of Defense.Merry Christmas, Defense Contractors!
Veronique de Rugy
December 22, 2014
The military commission this week was to focus on the alleged FBI infiltration of one of the defense teams.Prosecutors Have No Idea When 9/11 Mastermind’s Trial Will Start
December 17, 2014
Patrick, who is openly gay and escaped the church with Fenner, is coming to their defense.Beaten By His Church for Being Gay
December 16, 2014
When my husband and I asked to see the report, we were told we could purchase the report for $30,000 from the defense.I Was Gang Raped at a UVA Frat 30 Years Ago, and No One Did Anything
December 16, 2014
If Robert possessed his acknowledgment he would have no defense to make.Brave and Bold
Peace can be contributed to by respect for our ability in defense.
We must acquire proficiency in defense and display stamina in purpose.
There was no especial change in the girl's voice as she answered his defense.
The Inspector seized on the one flaw left him for defense against her indictment.
Word Origin and History for defense
c.1300, "forbidding, prohibition," also "action of guarding or protecting," from Old French defense, from Latin defensus, past participle of defendere "ward off, protect" (see defend). But it also arrived (without the final -e) from Old French defens, from Latin defensum "thing protected or forbidden," neuter past participle of defendere.
Defens was assimilated into defense, but not before it inspired the alternative spelling defence, via the same tendency that produced hence (hennis), pence (penies), dunce (Duns). First used 1935 as a euphemism for "national military resources." Defense mechanism in psychology is from 1913.
- A means or method that helps protect the body or mind, as against disease or anxiety.