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



BrE BrE//dɪˈfensɪv//
; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈfensɪv//
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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’.Idioms
on/onto the defensive
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acting in a way that shows that you expect to be attacked or criticized; having to defend yourself Their questions about the money put her on the defensive. Warnings of an enemy attack forced the troops onto the defensive.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: defensive

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