defense mechanism


Definition of defense mechanism

1 : an often unconscious mental process (such as repression) that makes possible compromise solutions to personal problems
2 : a defensive reaction by an organism

Examples of defense mechanism in a Sentence

She is projecting her anger on you as a defense mechanism. the cell's normal defense mechanisms against infection
Recent Examples on the Web His defense mechanism is so strong, Alex explained, that Perkins was the only person who’d ever gotten inside his head — and that was only for four minutes. Los Angeles Times, "Why twin brothers revealed secret child abuse on-camera in Netflix’s ‘Tell Me Who I Am’," 21 Oct. 2019 Which is the body's defense mechanism, but also a good lesson in taking you out of your comfort zone. Condé Nast Traveler, "Why We All Need to Slow Down When We Travel: Women Who Travel Podcast," 16 Oct. 2019 Instead of acting as a defense mechanism, the frustrated signaling pathway wreaks havoc during development—causing severe birth defects or death in embryos. Wired, "How Cities Reshape the Evolutionary Path of Urban Wildlife," 23 Sep. 2019 As Brittany’s stock improves in the prying, judgy eyes of the world around her, she’s stuck with a load of defense mechanisms and the rote psychological impulse to push people away, and treat every act of kindness as pity. Michael Phillips,, "‘Brittany Runs a Marathon’ review: Jillian Bell excels as a trainwreck who gets back on the rails," 26 Aug. 2019 Phylloxera is native to the eastern United States, where the roots of various American vitis species developed defense mechanisms to survive in its presence. Michael Alberty | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Walla Walla vineyards face threat of phylloxera, insect that ruins grapevine production," 4 Sep. 2019 However, these gargantuan insects can still deliver a powerful bite or fling their hairs as a defense mechanism. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Mass tarantula migration expected to crawl through Colorado starting this month," 8 Aug. 2019 By Karban’s last count, 40 out of 48 studies of plant communication confirm that other plants detect these airborne signals and ramp up their production of chemical weapons or other defense mechanisms in response. Quanta Magazine, "The Secret Language of Plants," 16 Dec. 2013 Tracking these objects is mainly a defense mechanism, to ensure none are anywhere close to hitting Earth. Leah Asmelash And David G Allan, CNN, "An asteroid bigger than the Empire State Building is passing by Earth next week. Here's why you shouldn't be worried," 1 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'defense mechanism.' 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 defense mechanism

1909, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for defense mechanism

Last Updated

13 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for defense mechanism

The first known use of defense mechanism was in 1909

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More Definitions for defense mechanism

defense mechanism


English Language Learners Definition of defense mechanism

: a process in the brain that makes you forget or ignore painful or disturbing thoughts, situations, etc.
: a reaction in your body that protects against disease or danger

defense mechanism


Medical Definition of defense mechanism

1 : an often unconscious mental process (as repression, projection, or sublimation) that makes possible compromise solutions to personal problems
2 : a defensive reaction by an organism

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