- serving to defend; protective: defensive armament.
- made or carried on for the purpose of resisting attack: defensive treaty; a defensive attitude.
- of or relating to defense.
- (of stocks, securities, etc.)
- able to provide moderately steady growth with minimal risk: The bank has put a large percentage of its assets in defensive rather than growth stocks.
- considered stable and relatively safe for investment, especially during a decline in the economy.
- excessively concerned with guarding against the real or imagined threat of criticism, injury to one’s ego, or exposure of one’s shortcomings.
- a position or attitude of defense: to be on the defensive about one’s mistakes.
- Obsolete. something that serves to defend.
- intended, suitable, or done for defence, as opposed to offence
- rejecting criticisms of oneself or covering up one’s failings
- a position of defence
- on the defensive in an attitude or position of defence, as in being ready to reject criticism
c.1400 (adj. and noun), from French défensif (14c.), from Medieval Latin defensivus, from defens-, past participle stem of Latin defendere (see defend). Of persons, “alert to reject criticism,” from 1919. Related: Defensively; defensiveness.
see on the defensive.