defense mechanism

noun

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 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, chicagotribune.com, "‘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 The probe was outfitted with a fake jellyfish that mimicked the invertebrates' bioluminescent defense mechanism, which can signal to larger predators that a meal may be nearby, to lure the squid and other animals to the camera. The Washington Post, al.com, "Giant squid spotted in Gulf of Mexico in rare video," 24 June 2019 The probe was outfitted with a fake jellyfish that mimicked the invertebrates' bioluminescent defense mechanism, which can signal to larger predators that a meal may be nearby, to lure the squid and other animals to the camera. The Washington Post, al.com, "Giant squid spotted in Gulf of Mexico in rare video," 24 June 2019 The probe was outfitted with a fake jellyfish that mimicked the invertebrates' bioluminescent defense mechanism, which can signal to larger predators that a meal may be nearby, to lure the squid and other animals to the camera. Author: Kayla Epstein, Anchorage Daily News, "Scientists capture historic video of a giant squid," 24 June 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

30 Oct 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

noun

English Language Learners Definition of defense mechanism

technical
: 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

noun

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

More from Merriam-Webster on defense mechanism

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about defense mechanism

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