Definition of defend verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//dɪˈfend//
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈfend//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they defend
    BrE BrE//dɪˈfend//
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈfend//
    he / she / it defends
    BrE BrE//dɪˈfendz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈfendz//
    past simple defended
    BrE BrE//dɪˈfendɪd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈfendɪd//
    past participle defended
    BrE BrE//dɪˈfendɪd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈfendɪd//
    -ing form defending
    BrE BrE//dɪˈfendɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈfendɪŋ//
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    protect against attack
  1. 1  [transitive, intransitive] to protect somebody/something from attack defend somebody/yourself/something Troops have been sent to defend the borders. defend somebody/yourself/something from/against somebody/something All our officers are trained to defend themselves against knife attacks. The male ape defends his females from other males. defend against somebody/something It is impossible to defend against an all-out attack. Wordfinderarmy, artillery, battalion, command, defend, invade, officer, regiment, tactics, weapon Wordfinderaggression, arms, army, attack, casualty, conflict, defend, hostile, territory, war See related entries: Conflict
  2. support
  3. 2  [transitive] to say or write something in support of somebody/something that has been criticized defend something How can you defend such behaviour? He defended his decision to punish the boy. defend somebody/yourself/something from/against somebody/something Politicians are skilled at defending themselves against their critics.
  4. in sport
  5. 3[intransitive, transitive] defend (something) (in sports) to protect your own goal to stop your opponents from scoring
  6. opposite attack
    in competitions
  7. 4[transitive] defend something to take part in a competition that you won the last time and try to win it again He is defending champion. She will be defending her title at next month's championships. (politics) He intends to defend his seat in the next election.
  8. law
  9. 5[transitive, intransitive] defend (somebody/yourself) to act as a lawyer for somebody who has been charged with a crime He has employed one of the UK's top lawyers to defend him. Smith has announced that she will defend herself in the case.
  10. compare prosecute
    Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French defendre, from Latin defendere, from de- ‘off’ + -fendere ‘to strike’. Compare with offend.Extra examples She defended her department against accusations of incompetence. She successfully defended herself against an attack from someone larger and stronger. The champion successfully defended his title against the American challenger. The city was heavily defended against attack. The company has strenuously defended its decision to reduce the workforce. They attacked the left flank, which was only lightly defended. He has announced that he will defend himself in the case. She has employed one of the UK’s top lawyers to defend her. She was quick to defend her husband’s actions. The minister vigorously defended the policy. Who’s defending?
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: defend