defense-mechanism

defense mechanism

noun
1.
Physiology. the defensive reaction of an organism, as against a pathogenic microorganism.
2.
Psychology. an unconscious process, as denial, that protects an individual from unacceptable or painful ideas or impulses.

Origin:
1890–95

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

defense mechanism n.

  1. Any of a variety of usually unconscious mental processes used to protect oneself from shame, anxiety, loss of self-esteem, conflict, or other unacceptable feelings or thoughts, and including behaviors such as repression, projection, denial, and rationalization.

  2. See immunological mechanism.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

defense mechanism definition


In psychology, a Freudian term referring to an unconscious avoidance of something that produces anxiety or some other unpleasant emotion. For example, someone who blots out the memory of a terrible accident is using a defense mechanism. Regression and sublimation are common defense mechanisms.

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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