1. The act of defending against attack, danger, or injury.
2. A means or method of defending or protecting.
3. Sports The act or an instance of defending a championship against a challenger: will box in his third defense of his title.
4. An argument in support or justification of something. See Synonyms at apology.
a. The act of defending a case.
b. A fact or law that provides a full or partial exoneration of the defendant against the charges or claims made in a lawsuit or prosecution.
c. The defendant and his or her legal counsel.
6. The science or art of defending oneself; self-defense.
7. (often dēfĕns′) Sports
a. The means or tactics used in trying to stop the opposition from scoring.
b. The team or those players on the team attempting to stop the opposition from scoring.
c. Defending ability or potential.
8. The military, governmental, and industrial complex, especially as it authorizes and manages weaponry production.
tr.v. de·fensed, de·fens·ing, de·fens·es
1. To attempt to stop (the opposition) from scoring.
2. To play defense against (an opponent or play).
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin dēfēnsa, from feminine past participle of dēfendere, to ward off; see DEFEND.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus