defend

[dih-fend]

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

Law. to enter or make a defense.

Nearby words

  1. defederalize,
  2. defence,
  3. defence in depth,
  4. defence mechanism,
  5. defenceless,
  6. defendant,
  7. defender,
  8. defender of the bond,
  9. defender of the faith,
  10. defenestrate

Origin of defend

1200–50; Middle English defenden < Old French defendre < Latin dēfendere to ward off, equivalent to dē- de- + -fendere to strike

Related forms

Synonym study

1. Defend, guard, preserve, protect all mean to keep safe. To defend is to strive to keep safe by resisting attack: to defend one's country. To guard is to watch over in order to keep safe: to guard a camp. To preserve is to keep safe in the midst of danger, either in a single instance or continuously: to preserve a spirit of conciliation. To protect is to keep safe by interposing a shield or barrier: to protect books by means of heavy paper covers.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for defend


British Dictionary definitions for defend

defend

verb

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
Derived Formsdefendable, adjectivedefender, noun

Word Origin for defend

C13: from Old French defendre, from Latin dēfendere to ward off, from de- + -fendere to strike

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

Word Origin and History for defend

defend

v.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper