on the defensive
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]
THINK YOU’VE GOT A HANDLE ON THIS US STATE NICKNAME QUIZ?
Question 1 of 8
Mississippi’s nickname comes from the magnificent trees that grow there. What is it?
Words nearby 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.