Definitions

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

  • adjective Intended or appropriate for defending; protective.
  • adjective Intended to withstand or deter aggression or attack.
  • adjective Of or relating to the effort to prevent an opponent from gaining points in a game or athletic contest.
  • adjective Performed so as to avoid risk, danger, or legal liability.
  • adjective Of or relating to defense.
  • adjective Psychology Constantly protecting oneself from criticism, exposure of one's shortcomings, or other real or perceived threats to the ego.
  • noun A means of defense.
  • noun An attitude or position of defense.
  • idiom (on the defensive) Prepared to withstand or counter aggression or attack.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Serving to defend; proper for defense: as, defensive armor.
  • Of the nature of defense; consisting in resisting attack or aggression: as, defensive war, in distinction from offensive war, which is aggressive.
  • In a state or posture to defend: as, a defensive attitude.
  • noun That which defends or serves for defense; a safeguard; a security.

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

  • adjective Serving to defend or protect; proper for defense; opposed to offensive.
  • adjective Carried on by resisting attack or aggression; -- opposed to offensive.
  • adjective In a state or posture of defense.
  • noun That which defends; a safeguard.
  • noun to be or stand in a state or posture of defense or resistance, in opposition to aggression or attack.

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

  • adjective Intended for defence; protective
  • adjective Intended to deter attack
  • adjective Performed so as to minimise risk
  • adjective Displaying an inordinate sensitivity to criticism; compare paranoid
  • adjective cricket Of a bowling or fielding tactic designed to prevent the other side from scoring runs.; of a batting tactic designed to prevent being out.
  • adjective sports pertaining to defense, as opposed to attack.
  • noun A means, attitude or position of defense.

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

  • adjective intended or appropriate for defending against or deterring aggression or attack
  • adjective attempting to justify or defend in speech or writing
  • noun an attitude of defensiveness (especially in the phrase `on the defensive')

Etymologies

Sorry, no etymologies found.

Examples

  • "No toughness, no championship," he said, repeating one of his go-to tenets—and the phrase defensive end Justin Tuck whispered to his should've-been-hobbled coach that Christmas Eve night when the up-and-down Giants finally seemed to find themselves.

    The Tough Got Going

  • The term defensive driving has taken on a new definition as street conditions continue to deteriorate.

    Corpus Christi Caller Times, Caller.com Stories

  • Jancek joined Georgia's staff in 2005 and was given the title defensive co-coordinator before this season after turning down a coordinator position at South Florida.

    OnlineAthens: Top Headlines

  • Jancek joined Georgia's staff in 2005 and was given the title defensive co-coordinator before this season after turning down a coordinator position at South Florida.

    OnlineAthens: Top Headlines

  • Israeli media reports quote President Peres as saying in remarks to reporters in Hebrew, that he raised threats to Israel's security from Iran, and the need for what he called a "defensive wall" against Iran.

    Obama: Israeli-Palestinian Solution 'More Urgent than Ever'

  • Israeli media reports quote President Peres as saying in remarks to reporters in Hebrew, that he raised threats to Israel's security from Iran, and the need for what he called a "defensive wall" against Iran.

    Obama: Israeli-Palestinian Solution 'More Urgent than Ever'

  • I'm not sure that coming out on the defensive is a good way to win a leadership contest, but obviously Huw Lewis thinks that the First Minister's recent comments were directed agaist him.

    Archive 2008-11-01

  • I'm not sure that coming out on the defensive is a good way to win a leadership contest, but obviously Huw Lewis thinks that the First Minister's recent comments were directed agaist him.

    Huw Lewis on the defensive

  • A key moment before the war had come in January 1950, when Secretary of State Dean Acheson, in a speech, defined what he called the defensive perimeter that the United States was committed to protecting.

    CIA Files Show U.S. Blindsided By Korean War

  • The firefighters are in what they call a defensive "surround and drown" mode.

    CNN Transcript Feb 5, 2007

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