defense mechanism


noun

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

Nearby words

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

Origin of defense mechanism

First recorded in 1890–95

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


Medicine definitions for defense mechanism

defense mechanism

n.

Any of a variety of usually unconscious mental processes used to protect oneself from shame, anxiety, loss of self-esteem, conflict, or other unacceptable feelings or thoughts, and including behaviors such as repression, projection, denial, and rationalization.
immunological mechanism

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

Culture definitions for defense mechanism

defense mechanism

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.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.