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[dih-fens] /dɪˈfɛns/
noun, verb (used with object), defenced, defencing. Chiefly British.
Related forms
defenceable, adjective
defenceless, adjective
defencelessly, adverb
defencelessness, noun
predefence, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for defence
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They then retire, and the trooper is brought in and makes his defence.

    Trooper 3809 Lionel Decle
  • If it had been possible to undertake his defence, Margaret would have done so.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • "It must be right: I saw it so," was the beginning and end of his defence.

  • What had they to do with the defence of their country and their homes?

    The World Peril of 1910 George Griffith
  • It first taught devotion and reverence to those weak, fair beings, who but in their beauty and their gentleness have no defence.

    The History of Chivalry G. P. R. James
British Dictionary definitions for defence


resistance against danger, attack, or harm; protection
a person or thing that provides such resistance
a plea, essay, speech, etc, in support of something; vindication; justification
  1. a country's military measures or resources
  2. (as modifier): defence spending
(law) a defendant's denial of the truth of the allegations or charge against him
(law) the defendant and his legal advisers collectively Compare prosecution
  1. the action of protecting oneself, one's goal, or one's allotted part of the playing area against an opponent's attacks
  2. the method of doing this
  3. the defence, the players in a team whose function is to do this
(American football) (usually preceded by the)
  1. the team that does not have possession of the ball
  2. the members of a team that play in such circumstances
(psychoanal) See defence mechanism
(pl) fortifications
Derived Forms
defenceless, (US) defenseless, adjective
defencelessly, (US) defenselessly, adverb
defencelessness, (US) defenselessness, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French, from Late Latin dēfensum, past participle of dēfendere to defend
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
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Word Origin and History for defence

see defense.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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