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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
  • It is a recognised nuclear weapons state and has the third or fourth highest defence spending in the world.
  • Several military laboratories and defence firms have worked on them since then.
  • But using recordings of the defence howls it can warn off other wolf packs and put them at bay.
  • Further, you state that missile defence is impossible.
  • Check on what these countries spend on defence compared to us.
  • Carrying food, forced us to become bipedal, and then carrying weapons for defence and hunting became an easy task.
  • We should have politicians who are not elected on the oil, coal, nuclear and defence industry lobby.
  • We can all fantasise, but not shout, or do anything much worse in defence of speculation.
  • If the new models are reliable, there should be no problem hanging on to the permanent at-sea presence that defence bosses favour.
  • defence spending is qualitatively different: decisions taken today affect national security for decades to come.
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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