excessive concern with guarding against the real or imagined threat of criticism, injury to one’s ego, exposure of one’s shortcomings, etc.: Employee defensiveness may be reduced by moving the focus of the conversation from the person to the behaviors.
the condition of being abnormally sensitive to certain stimuli, leading to avoidance or overreaction: Sensory defensiveness often takes the form of increased negative reactivity to noises from fans, clocks, car doors, etc.
the state or condition of being prepared to defend against attack from an enemy: A military adviser’s job involves improving a nation's army and overall defensiveness against foreign attackers.
- non·de·fen·sive·ness, noun
- o·ver·de·fen·sive·ness, noun
- sem·i·de·fen·sive·ness, noun
- un·de·fen·sive·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use defensiveness in a sentence
After setting an NBA record for offensive efficiency with Luka Dončić running the show, Dallas badly needed some defensive grit.The Upsides And Downsides Of The NBA’s Five Biggest Trades So Far | Chris Herring (firstname.lastname@example.org) | November 19, 2020 | FiveThirtyEight
Eberflus, who had been considered the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive-coordinator-in-waiting under Rod Marinelli, brought a flavor of Marinelli’s Tampa 2 scheme north with him.The Indianapolis Colts Finally Built A Defensive Monster | Ty Schalter | November 19, 2020 | FiveThirtyEight
The Cleveland Cavaliers selected defensive-minded forward Isaac Okoro out of Auburn with the fifth pick.On quiet night for NBA draft lottery selections, Anthony Edwards goes No. 1 to Timberwolves | Ben Golliver, Des Bieler | November 19, 2020 | Washington Post
The Raiders had placed defensive Clelin Ferrell and cornerback Lamarcus Joyner on the list Tuesday.NFL toughens its coronavirus protocols as several Raiders players are placed in quarantine | Mark Maske | November 18, 2020 | Washington Post
Since the season began, City added former Benfica center back Rúben Dias to shore up its flaky defensive line.Liverpool And Manchester City Look Ordinary. Are They? | Terrence Doyle | November 12, 2020 | FiveThirtyEight
Yet Manhattan has none of the defensiveness that seems to be peeking around the corners of this film.He’s Still Older, Even in the Moonlight: Woody Allen’s May-December Romances Inspire Scrutiny | Teo Bugbee | July 25, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Back to The Knocks, still awash in denial and defensiveness.
Any Jew who tries to justify this attack or the apathy expressed by the bystanders is suffering from pathological defensiveness.Violence and Discourse: A Response to Yousef Munayer | Don Futterman | August 30, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
It spoke of insecurity rather than control, defensiveness instead of dynamism.Jennifer Lopez’s Fashion Blunder at American Music Awards | Robin Givhan | November 21, 2011 | THE DAILY BEAST
Then read the mountains of judgment, scorn, bragging, critiquing, and defensiveness that each debate seems to produce.
The directness of his challenge was startling, and roused in her a belated defensiveness.The Twins of Suffering Creek | Ridgwell Cullum
But she had by instinct a wary defensiveness, and she was on constant guard.A Pagan of the Hills | Charles Neville Buck