View synonyms for defense mechanism

defense mechanism


  1. Physiology. the defensive reaction of an organism, as against a pathogenic microorganism.
  2. Psychology. an unconscious process, as denial, that protects an individual from unacceptable or painful ideas or impulses.

defense mechanism

  1. In psychology , a Freudian term referring to an unconscious avoidance of something that produces anxiety or some other unpleasant emotion. For example, someone who blots out the memory of a terrible accident is using a defense mechanism. Regression and sublimation are common defense mechanisms.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of defense mechanism1

First recorded in 1890–95
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Example Sentences

They could reboot the body’s normal defense mechanisms, making the immune system see the enemy.

Your husband especially lit up the page, but you, your daughter and son-in-law also did to some degree, maybe reflecting learned behaviors or defense mechanisms.

Coming too close to a porcupine can make it agitated and nervous, and it may deploy its best defense mechanism—swinging its thickly quilled tail at you in the hopes of lodging a few spines into your skin.

They prefer to make smaller gains over a shorter span of time to demonstrate that they are competent leaders, which is an understandable defense mechanism.

Turning a bacterial defense mechanism into one of the most powerful tools in genetics has earned Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier the Nobel Prize in chemistry.

But she was young, and she used work as a defense mechanism.

I think this is, among liberals anyway, a defense mechanism.

Is this a defense mechanism, a way of not quite looking at what my mother has become?

“The hierarchy of things is a kind of defense mechanism that just alienates,” says Koons.

Historical myopia must be an evolutionary defense mechanism of the human species.

The crowds delusion of persecution, conspiracy, or oppression is thus a defense mechanism of this nature.

He knew that he was merely a defense mechanism, to ward off fear: for, it wasn't true.

I have said that the hostility of the crowd is a sort of "defense mechanism."

Late afternoon of the next day, my defense mechanism was ready.

This small, rather weird-looking little creature had a dangerous defense mechanism in the spines of his back.