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defense Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun (military) military action or resources protecting a country against potential enemies
    defence; defensive measure.
    • they died in the defense of Stalingrad
    • they were developed for the defense program
  2. noun protection from harm
    • sanitation is the best defense against disease
  3. noun (sports) the team that is trying to prevent the other team from scoring
    defence; defending team.
    • his teams are always good on defense
  4. noun the justification for some act or belief
    defence; vindication.
    • he offered a persuasive defense of the theory
  5. noun (psychiatry) an unconscious process that tries to reduce the anxiety associated with instinctive desires
    defence; defence mechanism; defense reaction; defense mechanism; defence reaction.
  6. noun the federal department responsible for safeguarding national security of the United States; created in 1947
    Defense Department; DoD; Department of Defense; United States Department of Defense.
  7. noun the defendant and his legal advisors collectively
    defense lawyers; defense team; defence.
    • the defense called for a mistrial
  8. noun the speech act of answering an attack on your assertions
    refutation; defence.
    • his refutation of the charges was short and persuasive
    • in defense he said the other man started it
  9. noun an organization of defenders that provides resistance against attack
    defence force; defence; defense force.
    • he joined the defense against invasion
  10. noun a structure used to defend against attack
    defence; defensive structure.
    • the artillery battered down the defenses
  11. noun a defendant's answer or plea denying the truth of the charges against him
    denial; demurrer; defence.
    • he gave evidence for the defense
  12. noun the act of defending someone or something against attack or injury
    • a good boxer needs a good defense
    • defense against hurricanes is an urgent problem

De*fense", De*fence" noun (Also<
  • Defense
  • Defence
F. défense, OF. defense, fem., defens, masc., fr. L. defensa (cf. Fence.
  1. The act of defending, or the state of being defended; protection, as from violence or danger.
    In cases of defense 't is best to weigh The enemy more mighty than he seems. Shak.
  2. That which defends or protects; anything employed to oppose attack, ward off violence or danger, or maintain security; a guard; a protection.
    War would arise in defense of the right. Tennyson.
    God, the widow's champion and defense. Shak.
  3. Protecting plea; vindication; justification.
    Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defense. Acts xxii. 1.
  4. (Law) 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.
  5. Act or skill in making defense; defensive plan or policy; practice in self defense, as in fencing, boxing, etc.
    A man of great defense. Spenser.
    By how much defense is better than no skill. Shak.
  6. Prohibition; a prohibitory ordinance. Obs.
    Severe defenses . . . against wearing any linen under a certain breadth. Sir W. Temple.
De*fense" transitive verb
  1. To furnish with defenses; to fortify. Obs. Written also defence.
    Better manned and more strongly defensed. Hales.

Webster 1913