[ dih-fens or, especially for 7, 9, dee-fens ]
/ dɪˈfɛns or, especially for 7, 9, ˈdi fɛns /
resistance against attack; protection: Two more regiments are needed for the defense of the city.
something that defends, as a fortification, physical or mental quality, or medication: This fort was once the main defense of the island.
the defending of a cause or the like by speech, argument, etc.: He spoke in defense of the nation's foreign policy.
a speech, argument, etc., in vindication: She delivered a defense of free enterprise.
- the denial or pleading of the defendant in answer to the claim or charge that has been made.
- the proceedings adopted by a defendant or the defendant's legal agents, for defending against the charges that have been made.
- a defendant and his or her counsel.
Psychology. defense mechanism (def. 2).
- the practice or art of defending oneself or one's goal against attack, as in fencing, boxing, soccer, or football.
- the team attempting to thwart the attack of the team having the ball or puck.
- the players of a team who line up in their own defensive zone.
- the positions on the field, ice, etc., taken by such players.
(initial capital letter)Also called Defense Department. Informal. the Department of Defense.
verb (used with object), de·fensed, de·fens·ing.
Sports. to defend against (an opponent, play, or tactic).
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Also 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
OTHER WORDS FROM defense
de·fense·less, adjectivede·fense·less·ly, adverbde·fense·less·ness, nounnon·de·fense, noun, adjective
pre·de·fense, nounun·de·fensed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021
Medical definitions for defense
[ dĭ-fĕns′ ]
A means or method that helps protect the body or mind, as against disease or anxiety.
Other words from defensede•fen′sive (-fĕn′sĭv) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.