[dih-fens or especially for 7, 9, dee-fens]
resistance against attack; protection: Two more regiments are needed for the defense of the city.
something that defends, as a fortification, physical or mental quality, or medication: This fort was once the main defense of the island.
the defending of a cause or the like by speech, argument, etc.: He spoke in defense of the nation's foreign policy.
a speech, argument, etc., in vindication: She delivered a defense of free enterprise.
the denial or pleading of the defendant in answer to the claim or charge that has been made.
the proceedings adopted by a defendant, or the defendant's legal agents, for defending against the charges that have been made.
a defendant and his or her counsel.
Psychology, defense mechanism ( def 2 ).
the practice or art of defending oneself or one's goal against attack, as in fencing, boxing, soccer, or football.
the team attempting to thwart the attack of the team having the ball or puck.
the players of a team who line up in their own defensive zone.
the positions on the field, ice, etc., taken by such players.
(initial capital letter) . Also called Defense Department. Informal. the Department of Defense.
verb (used with object), defensed, defensing.
Sports. to defend against (an opponent, play, or tactic).
Also, especially British, defence.

1250–1300; Middle English < Old French < Late Latin dēfēnsa a forbidding, noun use of feminine of past participle of Latin dēfendere to defend; replacing Middle English defens < Anglo-French, Old French < Medieval Latin defēnsum (thing) forbidden, neuter past participle of Latin dēfendere

defenseless, adjective
defenselessly, adverb
defenselessness, noun
nondefense, noun, adjective
predefense, noun
undefensed, adjective

1. security, preservation, safeguard. 3. support, advocacy, justification. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
defence or defense (dɪˈfɛns)
1.  resistance against danger, attack, or harm; protection
2.  a person or thing that provides such resistance
3.  a plea, essay, speech, etc, in support of something; vindication; justification
4.  a.  a country's military measures or resources
 b.  (as modifier): defence spending
5.  law a defendant's denial of the truth of the allegations or charge against him
6.  law Compare prosecution the defendant and his legal advisers collectively
7.  sport
 a.  the action of protecting oneself, one's goal, or one's allotted part of the playing area against an opponent's attacks
 b.  the method of doing this
 c.  the defence the players in a team whose function is to do this
8.  (usually preceded by the) American football
 a.  the team that does not have possession of the ball
 b.  the members of a team that play in such circumstances
9.  psychoanal See defence mechanism
10.  (plural) fortifications
[C13: from Old French, from Late Latin dēfensum, past participle of dēfendere to defend]
defense or defense
[C13: from Old French, from Late Latin dēfensum, past participle of dēfendere to defend]
de'fenceless or defense
de'fenseless or defense
de'fencelessly or defense
de'fenselessly or defense
de'fencelessness or defense
de'fenselessness or defense

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.1300, from O.Fr. defens, from L. defensum "thing protected or forbidden," from neut. pp. of defendere "ward off, protect" (see defend). First used 1935 as a euphemism for "national military resources." Defense mechanism in psychology is from 1913.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

defense de·fense (dĭ-fěns')
A means or method that helps protect the body or mind, as against disease or anxiety.

de·fen'sive (-fěn'sĭv) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
Countries have their own peculiar accounting system for defense spending.
When a bacterium enters the body, the first line of defense it encounters is
  the innate immune system.
Because the prairie dog defense system is so good, predators frequently fail
  and must look elsewhere for dinner.
The real surprise came on the other side of the ball: a defense that finally
  showed it can take charge of a game.
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