verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

Law. to enter or make a defense.

Origin of defend

1200–50; Middle English defenden < Old French defendre < Latin dēfendere to ward off, equivalent to dē- de- + -fendere to strike
Related formsde·fend·a·ble, adjectivede·fend·er, nounpre·de·fend, verb (used with object)un·de·fend·a·ble, adjectiveun·de·fend·a·ble·ness, nounun·de·fend·a·bly, adverbun·de·fend·ed, adjectiveun·de·fend·ing, adjectivewell-de·fend·ed, adjective

Synonyms for defend

Synonym study

1. Defend, guard, preserve, protect all mean to keep safe. To defend is to strive to keep safe by resisting attack: to defend one's country. To guard is to watch over in order to keep safe: to guard a camp. To preserve is to keep safe in the midst of danger, either in a single instance or continuously: to preserve a spirit of conciliation. To protect is to keep safe by interposing a shield or barrier: to protect books by means of heavy paper covers.

Antonyms for defend

1. attack. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for undefended

Contemporary Examples of undefended

  • Two weeks in the world of wholesome niceness also leaves you undefended and strangely serene and a bit childlike.

    The Daily Beast logo
    My Week At An Austrian Fat Camp

    Owen Matthews

    October 27, 2013

  • Thus a stark choice is upon us: We can spend what is necessary to defend the seas, or we can leave them undefended.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Obama Lets the Pirates Off

    Stephen L. Carter

    July 22, 2011

Historical Examples of undefended

British Dictionary definitions for undefended



not having people to provide resistance against danger, attack, or harm



to protect (a person, place, etc) from harm or danger; ward off an attack on
(tr) to support in the face of criticism, esp by argument or evidence
to represent (a defendant) in court in a civil or criminal action
sport to guard or protect (oneself, one's goal, etc) against attack
(tr) to protect (a championship or title) against a challenge
Derived Formsdefendable, adjectivedefender, noun

Word Origin for defend

C13: from Old French defendre, from Latin dēfendere to ward off, from de- + -fendere to strike
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 undefended

1560s, "not defended, unprotected," from un- (1) "not" + past participle of defend (v.). Attested earlier in a now-obsolete sense of "unforbidden" (late 14c.).



mid-13c., from Old French defendre (12c.) "defend, resist," and directly from Latin defendere "ward off, protect, guard, allege in defense," from de- "from, away" (see de-) + -fendere "to strike, push," from PIE root *gwhen- "to strike, kill" (see bane). In the Mercian hymns, Latin defendet is glossed by Old English gescildeð. Related: Defended; defending.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper