de·​fen·​si·​ble di-ˈfen(t)-sə-bəl How to pronounce defensible (audio)
: capable of being defended
defensible theories
a defensible hill
defensibility noun
defensibly adverb

Examples of defensible in a Sentence

Both candidates hold defensible positions on the issue. Under those circumstances, her actions were completely defensible. Slavery is not morally defensible. The city has a defensible location.
Recent Examples on the Web Funding for thinning should be redirected to help communities harden their homes, create defensible spaces and plan for wildfires, including evacuation and smoke shelters. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, 3 May 2024 The question is whether or not this is legally defensible. Michael Calore Lauren Goode, WIRED, 28 Mar. 2024 But then there’s nothing defensible about boiling a helpless sailor to death, either. Erik Kain, Forbes, 27 Feb. 2024 Certainly, a Ukraine without U.S. aid would lack any viable path to winning this war or earning a peace that leaves the country militarily defensible and economically viable. Hal Brands, The Mercury News, 21 Feb. 2024 The independent special district provides residents–many of whom live in the Wildland Urban Interface–with defensible space and services addressing a home’s vulnerabilities to better withstand wildfire. Anne Gelhaus, The Mercury News, 11 Feb. 2024 Attempting a reworked, legally defensible, and even remotely comparable version of the 2018 package would, in the end, have to involve shareholders agreeing to Musk being paid billions of dollars for past services, and that looks like a long shot . Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 5 Feb. 2024 My speculation is that the young man likely conflated the debate about life elsewhere in the universe with comments about scientifically defensible things. Marshall Shepherd, Forbes, 2 Mar. 2024 For vegetation that creates a fire hazard instead of food, the Santa Clara County Fire Department says now is a good time to cut it back and give your home defensible space from wildfire. Debby Rice, The Mercury News, 14 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'defensible.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English defensable, defensible "ready to fight, easily defended," borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Late Latin dēfensābilis "able to be defended," from Latin dēfensāre "to act in defense" (frequentative of dēfendere "to defend") + -bilis "capable (of acting) or worthy of (being acted upon)" — more at -able

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of defensible was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near defensible

Cite this Entry

“Defensible.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2024.

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