follow Dictionary.com

Yours, Etc.: Origins and Uses of 8 Sign-Offs

defend

[dih-fend] /dɪˈfɛnd/
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)
7.
Law. to enter or make a defense.
Origin
1200-1250
1200-50; Middle English defenden < Old French defendre < Latin dēfendere to ward off, equivalent to dē- de- + -fendere to strike
Related forms
defendable, adjective
defender, noun
predefend, verb (used with object)
undefendable, adjective
undefendableness, noun
undefendably, adverb
undefended, adjective
undefending, adjective
well-defended, adjective
Synonyms
1. shelter, screen, shield; garrison, fortify. Defend, guard, preserve, protect all mean to keep safe. To defend is to strive to keep safe by resisting attack: to defend one's country. To guard is to watch over in order to keep safe: to guard a camp. To preserve is to keep safe in the midst of danger, either in a single instance or continuously: to preserve a spirit of conciliation. To protect is to keep safe by interposing a shield or barrier: to protect books by means of heavy paper covers. 2. vindicate.
Antonyms
1. attack.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for defend
  • To champion something is to support it, to defend it.
  • They defend plants by warning animals away and protect animals by letting them know when a plant may be poisonous.
  • Students are scrambling to defend their dissertations so that they can graduate on time.
  • The trouble with the new multinational outfit is that its members might have to defend people by firing weapons.
  • They bestride the top of the food chain and are well equipped to defend themselves in nature.
  • Infamous preservative may help defend against bacteria.
  • And the military's job is to do one thing, and that is to defend our country.
  • They are willing to defend policies they may not agree with privately.
  • At first you dismiss your critics as cranks, but as the evidence piles up, you struggle to defend yourself.
  • The best way to defend against resistant bacteria is to have a healthy immune system.
British Dictionary definitions for defend

defend

/dɪˈfɛnd/
verb
1.
to protect (a person, place, etc) from harm or danger; ward off an attack on
2.
(transitive) 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.
(transitive) to protect (a championship or title) against a challenge
Derived Forms
defendable, adjective
defender, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French defendre, from Latin dēfendere to ward off, from de- + -fendere to strike
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for defend
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 gescildeð. Related: Defended; defending.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for defend

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for defend

11
12
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with defend