defensive

[dih-fen-siv]

adjective

noun

a position or attitude of defense: to be on the defensive about one's mistakes.
Obsolete. something that serves to defend.

Origin of defensive

1350–1400; < Medieval Latin dēfēnsīvus (see defense, -ive); replacing Middle English defensif < Middle French < Medieval Latin, as above
Related formsde·fen·sive·ly, adverbde·fen·sive·ness, nounnon·de·fen·sive, adjectivenon·de·fen·sive·ly, adverbnon·de·fen·sive·ness, nouno·ver·de·fen·sive, adjectiveo·ver·de·fen·sive·ly, adverbo·ver·de·fen·sive·ness, nounsem·i·de·fen·sive, adjectivesem·i·de·fen·sive·ly, adverbsem·i·de·fen·sive·ness, nounun·de·fen·sive, adjectiveun·de·fen·sive·ly, adverbun·de·fen·sive·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


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British Dictionary definitions for defensive

defensive

adjective

intended, suitable, or done for defence, as opposed to offence
rejecting criticisms of oneself or covering up one's failings

noun

a position of defence
on the defensive in an attitude or position of defence, as in being ready to reject criticism
Derived Formsdefensively, adverbdefensiveness, noun
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 defensive

c.1400 (adj. and noun), from French défensif (14c.), from Medieval Latin defensivus, from defens-, past participle stem of Latin defendere (see defend). Of persons, "alert to reject criticism," from 1919. Related: Defensively; defensiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with defensive

defensive

see on the defensive.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.