Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The act of defending against attack, danger, or injury.
  • n. A means or method of defending or protecting.
  • n. Sports The act or an instance of defending a championship against a challenger: will box in his third defense of his title.
  • n. An argument in support or justification of something. See Synonyms at apology.
  • n. Law The action of the defendant in opposition to complaints against him or her.
  • n. Law The defendant and his or her legal counsel.
  • n. The science or art of defending oneself; self-defense.
  • n. Sports Means or tactics used in trying to stop the opposition from scoring.
  • n. Sports The team or those players on the team attempting to stop the opposition from scoring.
  • n. The military, governmental, and industrial complex, especially as it authorizes and manages weaponry production.
  • transitive v. Sports To attempt to stop (the opposition) from scoring.
  • transitive v. Sports To play defense against (an opponent); guard.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The action of defending or protecting from attack, danger, or injury.
  • n. Anything employed to oppose attack(s).
  • n. An argument in support or justification of something.
  • n. Government policy or structure related to the military.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of defending, or the state of being defended; protection, as from violence or danger.
  • n. That which defends or protects; anything employed to oppose attack, ward off violence or danger, or maintain security; a guard; a protection.
  • n. Protecting plea; vindication; justification.
  • n. The defendant's answer or plea; an opposing or denial of the truth or validity of the plaintiff's or prosecutor's case; the method of proceeding adopted by the defendant to protect himself against the plaintiff's action.
  • n. Act or skill in making defense; defensive plan or policy; practice in self defense, as in fencing, boxing, etc.
  • n. Prohibition; a prohibitory ordinance.
  • transitive v. To furnish with defenses; to fortify.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To defend; protect; guard; shield; fortify.
  • To defend; vindicate; maintain.
  • n. The act of shielding or guarding from attack or injury; the act of resisting an attack or assault.
  • n. The act of maintaining, supporting, or vindicating by force or argument.
  • n. Something that repels or guards against attack, violence, danger, or injury; a protection; a safeguard; a security; a fortification.
  • n. A speech or writing intended to repel or disprove a charge or an accusation; a vindication; an apology.
  • n. In law: The method adopted by a person against whom legal proceedings have been taken for defending himself against them. More specifically
  • n. The opposing or denial of the charge or cause of action, or of some essential element in it, as distinguished from opposition by a counter-claim.
  • n. Defiance; resistance; offense.
  • n. A prohibition.
  • n. The science of defending against attack by force of arms; skill in defending from danger by means of weapons or of the fists; specifically, fencing or boxing.
  • n. plural In heraldry, the natural weapons of an animal used as a bearing, as the tusks of a boar, or the like.
  • n. The distance from the salient of a bastion to the opposite flank.
  • n. A method or course to be pursued in conducting a defense of any kind.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an organization of defenders that provides resistance against attack
  • n. (sports) the team that is trying to prevent the other team from scoring
  • n. the act of defending someone or something against attack or injury
  • n. protection from harm
  • n. the defendant and his legal advisors collectively
  • n. the justification for some act or belief
  • n. (psychiatry) an unconscious process that tries to reduce the anxiety associated with instinctive desires
  • n. the federal department responsible for safeguarding national security of the United States; created in 1947
  • n. a defendant's answer or plea denying the truth of the charges against him
  • n. the speech act of answering an attack on your assertions
  • n. a structure used to defend against attack
  • n. (military) military action or resources protecting a country against potential enemies

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin dēfēnsa, from feminine past participle of dēfendere, to ward off; see defend.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • ROBERT GATES, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Based on my experience serving seven presidents, as a former director of CIA and now as secretary of defense, I am here to make the case for strengthening our capacity to use soft power and for better integrating it with hard power.

    CNN Transcript Sep 21, 2008

  • ROBERT GATES, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: More often than not, during my career, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense have not been on speaking terms ...

    CNN Transcript Dec 18, 2008

  • (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I, would start on a personal note -- my time as secretary of defense, I've come away truly inspired by the professionalism, the dedication, the dignity, of the men and women in uniform.

    CNN Transcript Nov 9, 2006

  • DONALD RUMSFELD, OUTGOING SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I certainly can't speak for the new incoming secretary of defense.

    CNN Transcript Dec 4, 2006

  • OF DEFENSE FOR HOMELAND SECURITY: If, for some reason, and it does appear, the level of the criminal threat exceeds the immediate capability of civilian law enforcement, the National Guard in state status, under command and control of the governor, not under command and control of the secretary of defense, can work side by side lawfully with civilian law enforcement agencies, police officers, to maintain public order.

    CNN Transcript Aug 31, 2005

  • DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: These events occurred on my watch, as secretary of defense.

    CNN Transcript May 7, 2004

  • DEFENSE SECRETARY Bilderberg, Council on Foreign Relations, former CIA Director, defense secretary under President Bush, co-chaired CFR task force with Zbigniew Brzezinski, knee-deep in the Iran-Contra scandal, named in a 1999 class action lawsuit pertaining to the Mena drug trafficking affair.

    Opinion Source: Delivering summaries of editorial and op-ed pieces from major papers by email.

  • Obama to Name Defense Secretary on Monday President-elect Barack Obama is expected to announce Monday who will be his secretary of defense.

    National Coalition for History

  • NEW YORK Reuters - Spain's Rafa Nadal faces the first real test of his title defense when he takes on David Nalbandian of Argentina at the U.S. Open on Sunday.

    Nadal faces tough test against Nalbandian

  • DUNSANY, Ireland Reuters - American captain Rosie Jones has put her faith in big hitters Cristie Kerr and Michelle Wie in the opening series of foursomes as the U.S. begin their title defense of the Solheim Cup on Friday against Europe at Killeen Castle in Ireland.

    Americans rely on Kerr and Wie for strong Solheim start

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Comments

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  • Doesn't work with Australian pronounciation, at least not for me. Only de-FENCE.

    November 22, 2007

  • A "bi-sonic". DEE fence (exhortation); dee FENCE (act/strategy of prevention/protection).

    August 25, 2007

  • In chess, typically used to describe an opening for Black.

    February 21, 2007