Definition of defensive adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//dɪˈfensɪv//
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈfensɪv//
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  1. 1protecting somebody/something against attack a defensive measure Troops took up a defensive position around the town. compare offensive
  2. 2behaving in a way that shows that you feel that people are criticizing you Don't ask him about his plans—he just gets defensive.
  3. 3(sport) connected with trying to prevent the other team or player from scoring points or goals defensive play compare offensive
  4. Word Originlate Middle English: from Old French défensif, -ive, from medieval Latin defensivus, from Latin defens- ‘warded off’, from the verb defendere, from de- ‘off’ + -fendere ‘to strike’.Extra examples He is extremely defensive about his work. Her manner was oddly defensive, as he hadn’t intended any criticism at all. These are purely defensive measures. Whenever anyone mentions women’s rights, he gets rather defensive. a largely defensive campaign As a defensive measure he built a series of coastal forts and watchtowers. Troops are taking up a defensive position around the town.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: defensive