from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To make or keep safe from danger, attack, or harm.
  • intransitive verb To engage in or be prepared to engage in battle to prevent (a population or area, for example) from being captured or occupied by an enemy.
  • intransitive verb To attempt to prevent the opposition from scoring while playing in or near (a goal or area of a field, for example).
  • intransitive verb To be responsible for guarding (an opposing player).
  • intransitive verb To compete against a challenger in an attempt to retain (a championship).
  • intransitive verb To support or maintain, as by argument or action; justify.
  • intransitive verb To represent (a defendant) in a civil or criminal action.
  • intransitive verb To attempt to disprove or invalidate (the claim made by a lawsuit or prosecution).
  • intransitive verb To make a defense.
  • intransitive verb Sports To play defense.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To drive off or away; thrust back; fend or ward off; repel.
  • To forbid; prohibit; forefend.
  • To ward off attack from; guard against assault or injury; shield: as, to defend a fortress.
  • To vindicate; uphold; maintain by force, argument, or evidence: as, to defend one's rights and privileges; to defend a cause or claim at law.
  • Synonyms Protect, Shelter, etc. (see keep), guard, shield. Maintain, Vindicate, etc. See assert.
  • In law, to make opposition; enter or make defense: as, the party comes into court, defends, and says.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb A Latinism & Obs. To ward or fend off; to drive back or away; to repel.
  • transitive verb obsolete To prohibit; to forbid.
  • transitive verb To repel danger or harm from; to protect; to secure against attack; to maintain against force or argument; to uphold; to guard; ; -- sometimes followed by from or against.
  • transitive verb (Law.) To deny the right of the plaintiff in regard to (the suit, or the wrong charged); to oppose or resist, as a claim at law; to contest, as a suit.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive, obsolete To ward off, repel (an attack or attacker).
  • verb transitive, obsolete To prevent, to keep (from doing something).
  • verb transitive, intransitive, obsolete To prohibit, forbid.
  • verb transitive To ward off attacks from; to fight to protect; to guard.
  • verb transitive To support by words or writing; to vindicate, talk in favour of.
  • verb transitive, law To make legal defence of; to represent (the accused).
  • verb sports To focus one's energies and talents on preventing opponents from scoring, as opposed to focusing on scoring.
  • verb sports To attempt to retain a title, or attempt to reach the same stage in a competition as one did in the previous edition of that competition.
  • verb poker slang To call a raise from the big blind.

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

  • verb protect or fight for as a champion
  • verb be the defense counsel for someone in a trial
  • verb protect against a challenge or attack
  • verb argue or speak in defense of
  • verb fight against or resist strongly
  • verb be on the defensive; act against an attack
  • verb state or assert


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

[Middle English defenden, from Old French defendre, from Latin dēfendere, to ward off; see gwhen- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English defenden, from Old French deffendre (Modern: défendre), from Latin dēfendō ("to ward off").


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