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defence mechanism

noun
  1. psychoanal a usually unconscious mental process designed to reduce the anxiety, shame, etc, associated with instinctive desires
  2. physiol the protective response of the body against disease organisms
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012