[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
It was not immediately known if the prosecutor planned to retry the other
The indictments in the show trials, and the defendants' coerced statements,
  have added ever more fanciful layers.
If it stands, no individual defendants will remain in the case.
Defendants in lawsuits don't generally pay out anything to plaintiffs without
  an agreement for settlement.
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