de·​fend·​er | \ di-ˈfen-dər How to pronounce defender (audio) \

Definition of defender

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

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 Bridges is the Suns best on-ball defender who gets caught helping on Doncic and other players as the Suns switch on Dallas' wings. Dana Scott, The Arizona Republic, 9 May 2022 High praise for Doncic from the 2018 No. 1 overall pick, and the Slovenian phenom has had prior success against the Suns’ best defender in Mikal Bridges. Evan Sidery, Forbes, 2 May 2022 Draymond Green is playing like the best defender in the league again. Matt Eppers, USA TODAY, 25 Apr. 2022 The injury removed the Bulls’ best defender from the court for the second half of the game — and potentially longer in the series if Caruso remains under concussion protocol. Julia Poe, Chicago Tribune, 24 Apr. 2022 Guard Jrue Holiday — the best defender on the Bucks roster and, arguably, in the NBA — boasts a 6-foot-7 wingspan. Julia Poe,, 13 Apr. 2022 The man did win the Platinum Glove as the American League’s best defender last season, but Peña is no slouch with the glove. Matt Young, Chron, 7 Apr. 2022 Bearcats coach Clay Birdwhistell called Jenkins the state’s best defender. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, 21 Mar. 2022 She’s the leading scorer, the best defender and heart and soul of the team. Joe Magill, cleveland, 9 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Time Traveler for defender

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near defender



defender office

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Statistics for defender

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Defender.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for defender


de·​fend·​er | \ di-ˈfen-dər How to pronounce defender (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on defender

Nglish: Translation of defender for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of defender for Arabic Speakers


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