verb (used with object)

to ward off (often followed by off): to fend off blows.
to defend.

verb (used without object)

to resist or make defense: to fend against poverty.
to parry; fence.
to shift; provide: to fend for oneself.

Origin of fend

1250–1300; Middle English fenden, aphetic variant of defenden to defend
Related formsun·fend·ed, adjective

Synonyms for fend

5. manage, make out, get along.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for fend



(intr foll by for) to give support (to someone, esp oneself); provide (for)
(tr usually foll by off) to ward off or turn aside (blows, questions, attackers, etc)
(tr) archaic to defend or resist
(intr) Scot and Northern English dialect to struggle; strive


Scot and Northern English dialect a shift or effort

Word Origin for fend

C13 fenden, shortened from defenden to defend
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 fend

late 13c., shortening of defend. To fend for oneself (1620s) is to see to one's own defense. Related: Fended; fending.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper