defense

[ dih-fens or especially for 7, 9, dee-fens ]
/ dɪˈfɛns or especially for 7, 9, ˈdi fɛns /

noun

verb (used with object), de·fensed, de·fens·ing.

Sports. to defend against (an opponent, play, or tactic).

Nearby words

  1. defender,
  2. defender of the bond,
  3. defender of the faith,
  4. defenestrate,
  5. defenestration,
  6. defense mechanism,
  7. defenseless,
  8. defenseman,
  9. defensible,
  10. defensive

Also especially British, defence.

Origin of defense

1250–1300; Middle English < Old French < Late Latin dēfēnsa a forbidding, noun use of feminine of past participle of Latin dēfendere to defend; replacing Middle English defens < Anglo-French, Old French < Medieval Latin defēnsum (thing) forbidden, neuter past participle of Latin dēfendere

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

Examples from the Web for defense


Word Origin and History for defense

defense

n.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for defense

defense

[ dĭ-fĕns ]

n.

A means or method that helps protect the body or mind, as against disease or anxiety.
Related formsde•fensive (-fĕnsĭv) adj.


The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.