verb (used with object)

  1. to ward off (often followed by off): to fend off blows.
  2. to defend.

verb (used without object)

  1. to resist or make defense: to fend against poverty.
  2. to parry; fence.
  3. to shift; provide: to fend for oneself.


  1. (intr foll by for) to give support (to someone, esp oneself); provide (for)
  2. (tr usually foll by off) to ward off or turn aside (blows, questions, attackers, etc)
  3. (tr) archaic to defend or resist
  4. (intr) Scot and Northern English dialect to struggle; strive


  1. Scot and Northern English dialect a shift or effort

late 13c., shortening of defend. To fend for oneself (1620s) is to see to one’s own defense. Related: Fended; fending.

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