verb (used with object)

  1. to ward off attack from; guard against assault or injury (usually followed by from or against): The sentry defended the gate against sudden attack.
  2. to maintain by argument, evidence, etc.; uphold: She defended her claim successfully.
  3. to contest (a legal charge, claim, etc.).
  4. Law. to serve as attorney for (a defendant): He has defended some of the most notorious criminals.
  5. to support (an argument, theory, etc.) in the face of criticism; prove the validity of (a dissertation, thesis, or the like) by answering arguments and questions put by a committee of specialists.
  6. to attempt to retain (a championship title, position, etc.), as in a competition against a challenger.

verb (used without object)

  1. Law. to enter or make a defense.


  1. not having people to provide resistance against danger, attack, or harm


  1. to protect (a person, place, etc) from harm or danger; ward off an attack on
  2. (tr) to support in the face of criticism, esp by argument or evidence
  3. to represent (a defendant) in court in a civil or criminal action
  4. sport to guard or protect (oneself, one’s goal, etc) against attack
  5. (tr) to protect (a championship or title) against a challenge

adj.1560s, “not defended, unprotected,” from un- (1) “not” + past participle of defend (v.). Attested earlier in a now-obsolete sense of “unforbidden” (late 14c.). v.mid-13c., from Old French defendre (12c.) “defend, resist,” and directly from Latin defendere “ward off, protect, guard, allege in defense,” from de- “from, away” (see de-) + -fendere “to strike, push,” from PIE root *gwhen- “to strike, kill” (see bane). In the Mercian hymns, Latin defendet is glossed by Old English gescildeĆ°. Related: Defended; defending.

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