defend

verb
de·​fend | \ di-ˈfend How to pronounce defend (audio) \
defended; defending; defends

Definition of defend

transitive verb

1a : to drive danger or attack away from defend the castle from invaders
b(1) : to maintain or support in the face of argument or hostile criticism defend a theory couldn't defend their actions
(2) : to prove (something, such as a doctoral thesis or dissertation) valid by answering questions in an oral exam preparing to defend her thesis
c sports : to attempt to prevent an opponent from scoring at elects to defend the south goal
2 archaic : prevent, forbid which God defend that I should wring from him— Shakespeare
3 : to act as attorney for hired a lawyer to defend their son
4 law : to deny or oppose the right of a plaintiff in regard to (a suit or a wrong charged) : contest
5 : to retain or seek to retain (something, such as a title or position) against a challenge in a contest they successfully defended their championship

intransitive verb

1 : to take action against attack or challenge the defending champion
2 sports : to play or be on defense playing deep to defend against a pass
3 card games : to play against the high bidder

Other Words from defend

defendable \ di-​ˈfen-​də-​bəl How to pronounce defend (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for 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 (such 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

Examples of defend in a Sentence

The company must defend its own interests. We believed it was a cause worth defending. She defended her friend's behavior. Stop defending him. What he did was wrong.
Recent Examples on the Web In the past year, however, Biden has repeatedly said the U.S. would defend the island against Chinese invasion. Jennifer Jett, NBC News, 3 Aug. 2022 The billion-dollar grant program announced by Harris doubles spending from last year on programs to defend against extreme weather events across the country. Matthew Daly, Chron, 2 Aug. 2022 Jhared Hack is excited to have the chance to defend his title as Arizona Open champion. Chloe Peterson, The Arizona Republic, 1 Aug. 2022 Vigor won’t get a chance to defend its title in 4A. Ben Thomas | Bthomas@al.com, al, 15 July 2022 In a roundabout way, Simona Halep is finally getting a chance to defend her Wimbledon title. Chris Lehourites, ajc, 6 July 2022 Mosby will have a chance to defend herself during a hearing scheduled on Aug. 12. Ashlee Banks, Essence, 23 June 2022 However, reigning national champion Mississippi State will not have a chance to defend its title after failing to qualify for this year's tournament. USA TODAY, 30 May 2022 Ballard will have the chance to defend its regional title. J.l. Kirven, The Courier-Journal, 29 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'defend.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of defend

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for defend

Middle English defenden, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French defendre, defender, going back to Latin dēfendere "to ward off, fend off, repel danger from, protect," from dē- de- + -fendere, presumably, "to strike, hit" (unattested without prefixes), going back to Indo-European *gwhen-dh-, extended determinate form of *gwhen-, *gwhn- "strike, kill," whence Hittite kuenzi "(s/he) kills," kunanzi "(they) kill," Sanskrit hánti "(s/he) strikes, kills," ghnánti "(they) strike, kill," Greek theínein "to strike," épethnon "(I) killed," Old Irish gonaid "(s/he) pierces, wounds, kills," Welsh gwan- "stab, pierce," Lithuanian genù, giñti "to drive (cattle, etc.)," Old Church Slavic ženǫ, gŭnati "to drive, chase out, expel"; also, from nominal derivative *gwhon-, Greek phónos "bloodshed, murder," and from *gwhń̥-tih2, Germanic *gunþī, *gunþjō, whence Old English gūþ "battle, combat," Old Saxon gūđea, Old High German gund-, Old Norse gunnr, guðr

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Time Traveler for defend

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The first known use of defend was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near defend

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defend

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Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Defend.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/defend. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for defend

defend

verb
de·​fend | \ di-ˈfend How to pronounce defend (audio) \
defended; defending

Kids Definition of defend

1 : to protect from danger or attack
2 : to act or speak in favor of when others are opposed She defended her teacher against the class's complaints.

Choose the Right Synonym for defend

defend, protect, and safeguard mean to keep safe. defend is used for a danger or an attack that is actual or threatening. The soldiers defended the fort against enemy troops. protect is used when some kind of shield can prevent possible attack or injury. Protect your eyes with dark glasses. safeguard is used when a course of action can protect against a possible danger. The health rules help safeguard the students from disease.

defend

transitive verb
de·​fend

Legal Definition of defend

1 : to drive danger or attack away from using a weapon to defend oneself
2 : to act as attorney for (a defendant) appointed to defend the accused
3 : to deny or oppose the rights of a plaintiff in regard to (a suit or claim) intend to defend the case

intransitive verb

1 : to take action against attack or challenge not justified in striking first, but may defend
2 : to present a defense may not thereafter defend on grounds of insanity— W. R. LaFave and A. W. Scott, Jr.

More from Merriam-Webster on defend

Nglish: Translation of defend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of defend for Arabic Speakers

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