verb (used with object)
to ward off (often followed by off ): to fend off blows.
to defend.
verb (used without object)
to resist or make defense: to fend against poverty.
to parry; fence.
to shift; provide: to fend for oneself.

1250–1300; Middle English fenden, aphetic variant of defenden to defend

unfended, adjective

5. manage, make out, get along.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
fend (fɛnd)
vb (foll by for) (usually foll by off)
1.  to give support (to someone, esp oneself); provide (for)
2.  to ward off or turn aside (blows, questions, attackers, etc)
3.  archaic (tr) to defend or resist
4.  dialect (Scot), (Northern English) (intr) to struggle; strive
5.  dialect (Scot), (Northern English) a shift or effort
[C13 fenden, shortened from defenden to defend]

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, shortening of defend. To fend for oneself (1620s) is to see to one's own defense. Related: Fended; fending.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
She said she spent so many hours fending off attacks that she couldn't do
  anything else.
For regional officials, fending off complaints about pollution and corruption
  while still bringing in jobs.
The public educational system, indeed the public itself, will increasingly be
  fending for themselves.
These soldiers are stationed at the ideal spot for fending off invasions.
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