[dih-fen-duhnt or especially in court for 1, -dant]
Law. a person, company, etc., against whom a claim or charge is brought in a court (opposed to plaintiff ).
Obsolete, defender.
making one's defense; defending: a defendant corporation.
Obsolete, defensive.

1275–1325; Middle English defendaunt < Anglo-French (Middle French, Old French defendant). See defend, -ant

nondefendant, noun
undefendant, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
defendant (dɪˈfɛndənt)
1.  Compare plaintiff a person against whom an action or claim is brought in a court of law
2.  making a defence; defending

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1400, in the legal sense, from Fr. défendant, prp. of défendre (see defend). General sense of "defender" is from 1530s; earliest use in English was as a prp. meaning "defending" (eary 14c.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

defendant definition

The party that is being sued in court. (Compare plaintiff.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
In any case, my question is about whether or not I should collect restitution
  from the defendant.
The most contentious part of the bill is the proposal to allow juries to be
  told of a defendant's criminal record.
Toss in a poignant midlife romance and an innocent, put-upon defendant, and you
  have a novel with wide appeal.
If the defendant elects to waive his constitutional rights, the burden of
  establishing that waiver is on the prosecution.
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