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

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Other Words from defend

defendable \ di-​ˈfen-​də-​bəl How to pronounce defendable (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

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.

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Thus, missing Garrett meant more responsibility on the Browns secondary to defend for a second or two longer. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "Freddie Kitchens wants his cornerbacks to ‘attack the ball’ more, so what went wrong for the Browns secondary in Pittsburgh?," 3 Dec. 2019 As Graham started to threaten the paint, Morris moved to defend the rim. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons' defense chief among things not to like one-quarter through season," 3 Dec. 2019 The card will feature two title fights with Jon Jones set to defend his UFC title against Dominick Reyes. Marcy De Luna, Houston Chronicle, "UFC president Dana White hits up Houston restaurant Riel for dinner," 2 Dec. 2019 That honor begins Saturday when UAB attempts to defend its conference title against Lane Kiffin and the FAU Owls. Evan Dudley, al, "How UAB earned 2nd straight trip to C-USA title game," 1 Dec. 2019 Despite their territorial dispute, both the Kurdistan regional government and the Iraqi government should train and arm able young Yazidis, along with state armed forces, to defend the Sinjar area. Alon Ben-meir, National Review, "The Yazidis’ Crisis Continues to Unfold — Ending It Is a Moral Imperative," 25 Nov. 2019 Harverson launched a Clarence House Twitter account in 2010, hosted regular press conferences, and began to publicly defend his bosses and speak on their behalf. Simon Usborne, Town & Country, "The Royal Family Has Lost Control of the Message," 23 Nov. 2019 My insistence that the best way to defend the human was to re-invent it was dismissed. Tobias Rees, Quartz, "Why tech companies need philosophers—and how I convinced Google to hire them," 22 Nov. 2019 In the past few years, Okinawan resistance has coalesced to defend Henoko, a coastal town where the Marines plan to relocate the air base. Delilah Friedler, Teen Vogue, "Okinawa Residents Are Protesting the Marines’ Relocation of a Military Base on Their Island," 21 Nov. 2019

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.

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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 *gwhń-tih2, Germanic *gunþī, *gunþjō, whence Old English gūþ "battle, combat," Old Saxon gūđea, Old Norse gunnr, guđr

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Learn More about defend

Time Traveler for defend

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for defend

Last Updated

6 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Defend.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/defend?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=d&file=defend01. Accessed 13 December 2019.

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More Definitions for defend

defend

verb
How to pronounce defend (audio)

English Language Learners 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)

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.
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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on defend

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for defend

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with defend

Spanish Central: Translation of defend

Nglish: Translation of defend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of defend for Arabic Speakers

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