- 1 [uncountable] the act of protecting somebody/something from attack, criticism, etc. soldiers who died in defence of their country When her brother was criticized she leapt to his defence. What points can be raised in defence of this argument? I have to say in her defence that she knew nothing about it beforehand. see also self-defence
- 2 [countable, uncountable] defence (against something) something that provides protection against attack from enemies, the weather, illness, etc. The town walls were built as a defence against enemy attacks. The harbour's sea defences are in poor condition. The body has natural defence mechanisms to protect it from disease. Humour is a more effective defence than violence.
- 3 [uncountable] the organization of the people and systems that are used by a government to protect a country from attack (British English) the Ministry of Defence (North American English) the Department of Defense Further cuts in defence spending are being considered. support
- 4[countable] something that is said or written in order to support something a defence of Marxism law
- 5[countable] what is said in court to prove that a person did not commit a crime; the act of presenting this argument in court Her defence was that she was somewhere completely different at the time of the crime. He wanted to conduct his own defence.
- 6the defence [singular + singular or plural verb] the lawyer or lawyers whose job is to prove in court that a person did not commit a crime compare prosecution See related entries: People in law in sport
- 7[singular, uncountable] the players who must prevent the other team from scoring; the position of these players on the sports field Welford cut through the defence to score the winning goal. (British English) She plays in defence. (North American English) He plays on defense. compare attack, offense See related entries: American football
- 8[countable] a contest, game, etc. in which the previous winner or winners compete in order to try to win again Barcelona’s defence of the Champions League title Word Origin Middle English: from Old French defens, from late Latin defensum (neuter), defensa (feminine), past participles of defendere
protection against attack