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on the defensive

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Prepared for withstanding aggression or attack, as in The debate team's plan was to keep their opponents on the defensive, or This teacher put students on the defensive about their mistakes. [c. 1600]

QUIZ
WILL YOU SAIL OR STUMBLE ON THESE GRAMMAR QUESTIONS?
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

How to use on the defensive in a sentence

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