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verb de·fend \di-ˈfend\

Simple Definition of defend

  • : to fight in order to keep (someone or something) safe : to not allow a person or thing to hurt, damage, or destroy (someone or something)

  • : to fight or work hard in order to keep (something, such as a right, interest, cause, etc.) from being taken away

  • : to speak or write in support of (someone or something that is being challenged or criticized)

Full Definition of defend

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to drive danger or attack away from <defend our shores> b (1) :  to maintain or support in the face of argument or hostile criticism <defend a theory> (2) :  to prove (as a doctoral thesis) valid by answering questions in an oral exam c :  to attempt to prevent an opponent from scoring at <elects to defend the south goal>

  3. 2 archaic :  prevent, forbid

  4. 3 :  to act as attorney for

  5. 4 :  to deny or oppose the right of a plaintiff in regard to (a suit or a wrong charged) :  contest

  6. 5 :  to retain or seek to retain (as a title or position) against a challenge in a contest <they successfully defended their championship>

  7. intransitive verb
  8. 1 :  to take action against attack or challenge

  9. 2 :  to play or be on defense <playing deep to defend against a pass>

  10. 3 :  to play against the high bidder in a card game

de·fend·able play \ˈfen-də-bəl\ adjective

Examples of defend

  1. The company must defend its own interests.

  2. We believed it was a cause worth defending.

  3. She defended her friend's behavior.

  4. Stop defending him. What he did was wrong.

Origin of defend

Middle English, from Anglo-French defendre, from Latin defendere, from de- + -fendere to strike; akin to Old English gūth battle, war, Greek theinein to strike

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of defend

defend, protect, shield, guard, safeguard mean to keep secure from danger or against attack. defend denotes warding off actual or threatened attack <defend the country>. protect implies the use of something (as a covering) as a bar to the admission or impact of what may attack or injure <a hard hat to protect your head>. shield suggests protective intervention in imminent danger or actual attack <shielded her eyes from the sun with her hand>. guard implies protecting with vigilance and force against expected danger <White House entrances are well guarded>. safeguard implies taking precautionary protective measures against merely possible danger <our civil liberties must be safeguarded>.

synonyms see in addition maintain

Seen and Heard

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February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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