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defend

[dih-fend]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to ward off attack from; guard against assault or injury (usually followed by from or against): The sentry defended the gate against sudden attack.
  2. to maintain by argument, evidence, etc.; uphold: She defended her claim successfully.
  3. to contest (a legal charge, claim, etc.).
  4. Law. to serve as attorney for (a defendant): He has defended some of the most notorious criminals.
  5. 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.
  6. to attempt to retain (a championship title, position, etc.), as in a competition against a challenger.
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verb (used without object)
  1. Law. to enter or make a defense.
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Origin of defend

1200–50; Middle English defenden < Old French defendre < Latin dēfendere to ward off, equivalent to dē- de- + -fendere to strike
Related formsde·fend·a·ble, adjectivede·fend·er, nounpre·de·fend, verb (used with object)un·de·fend·a·ble, adjectiveun·de·fend·a·ble·ness, nounun·de·fend·a·bly, adverbun·de·fend·ed, adjectiveun·de·fend·ing, adjectivewell-de·fend·ed, adjective

Synonyms

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1. shelter, screen, shield; garrison, fortify. 2. vindicate.

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.

Antonyms

1. attack.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for defender

defend

verb
  1. to protect (a person, place, etc) from harm or danger; ward off an attack on
  2. (tr) to support in the face of criticism, esp by argument or evidence
  3. to represent (a defendant) in court in a civil or criminal action
  4. sport to guard or protect (oneself, one's goal, etc) against attack
  5. (tr) to protect (a championship or title) against a challenge
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Derived Formsdefendable, adjectivedefender, noun

Word Origin

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 defender

n.

c.1300 (early 13c. as a surname), via Anglo-French, from Old French defendeor, agent noun from defendre (see defend). The Latin word in this sense was defensor.

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper