de·​fend·​er | \ di-ˈfen-dər \

Definition of defender

1 : one that defends
2 : a player in a sport (such as football) assigned to a defensive position

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of defender in a Sentence

one of the traditional roles of an older brother is that of schoolyard defender

Recent Examples on the Web

These passes were underthrown, overthrown, astray in some other way, tipped at the line or batted down by defenders. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "How Drew Brees Pushes the Limits of Quarterback Accuracy," 17 Jan. 2019 Curry might not have the speed to blow by defenders, but there's enough shake in his game to make way for a pull-up jumper. Rob Mahoney,, "NBA Free Agency 2018: Under-the-Radar Grades," 4 July 2018 The captain collected the ball in between two defenders, turned and slipped a shot on the ground in at the far post. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville City FC beats Nashville, advances to US Open Cup quarterfinal," 20 June 2018 This did not go as planned, as religious leaders said Sessions was misinterpreting scripture, and others noted that the passage was also used by defenders of slavery in the U.S., Nazis, and advocates for South African Apartheid. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Jeff Sessions Defends Family Separation With False Claim About Nazis’ Treatment of Jews," 19 June 2018 No Golden State defender on Ayton was taller than 6-9. Jose M. Romero, The Seattle Times, "Curry’s 34 points help Warriors scorch Suns, 132-109," 31 Dec. 2018 While both are ardent defenders of President Donald Trump, McCarthy, as the number two House Republican is the natural successor to Ryan. Tara Golshan, Vox, "The fight to lead House Republicans now that they’re in the minority, explained," 8 Nov. 2018 To defend the missile sites, a helicopter that can fly faster, farther and carry more defenders would certainly be useful. Allison Barrie, Fox News, "Meet the new Air Force helicopters that can 'defy Armageddon'," 27 Sep. 2018 England defender Kyle Walker is finding meaning in the game no one wants to play. James Ellingworth,, "England, Belgium face off again, this time with 3rd place at stake," 13 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of defender

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for defender

Middle English defendour, defender, borrowed from Anglo-French defendour, defendur, from defend-, stem of defendre "to defend" + -our, -ur -or entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about defender

Statistics for defender

Last Updated

18 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for defender

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for defender


de·​fend·​er | \ di-ˈfen-dər \

Kids Definition of defender

1 : a person or thing that protects from danger or attack
2 : a player in a sport who tries to keep the other team from scoring



Legal Definition of defender

: a lawyer who represents defendants especially : public defender

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on defender

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with defender

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for defender

Spanish Central: Translation of defender

Nglish: Translation of defender for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of defender for Arabic Speakers

Comments on defender

What made you want to look up defender? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a servile follower or underling

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!