self-defense

[self-di-fens, self-]
noun
1.
the act of defending one's person when physically attacked, as by countering blows or overcoming an assailant: the art of self-defense.
2.
a claim or plea that the use of force or injuring or killing another was necessary in defending one's own person from physical attack: He shot the man who was trying to stab him and pleaded self-defense at the murder trial.
3.
an act or instance of defending or protecting one's own interests, property, ideas, etc., as by argument or strategy.
Also, especially British, self-defence.


Origin:
1645–55

self-defensive, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Example sentences
He did not throw himself back on the natural right of self-defense.
So a legitimate, imperative call to self-defense was distorted into an
  ignorant, messianic war.
Media attention has begun to focus on the demand for legally obtained guns for
  self-defense.
The crucial question for the prosecution was whether a jury could be persuaded
  that the killing had not been self-defense.
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