v. fend·ed, fend·ing, fends
1. To ward off. Often used with off: fend off an attack.
2. Archaic To defend.
1. To make an effort to resist: fend against the cold.
2. To attempt to manage without assistance: had to fend for ourselves until we were rescued.
[Middle English fenden, short for defenden, to defend; see DEFEND.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 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.