de·​fen·​si·​ble | \ di-ˈfen(t)-sə-bəl How to pronounce defensible (audio) \

Definition of defensible

: capable of being defended defensible theories a defensible hill

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Other Words from defensible

defensibility \ di-​ˌfen(t)-​sə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce defensibility (audio) , ˌdē-​ \ noun
defensibly \ di-​ˈfen(t)-​sə-​blē How to pronounce defensibly (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for defensible



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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web This season, however, the debate about whether a long-distance hike is morally defensible during a global health crisis has swept across Facebook and Instagram, driving a wedge in the trail community. Gregory Thomas,, "‘To hike or not to hike?’ Pacific Crest Trail can’t escape coronavirus debate," 4 July 2020 And even in hindsight, the initial judgment may have been defensible. Ari Schulman, The New Republic, "The Coronavirus and the Right’s Scientific Counterrevolution," 15 June 2020 These arrangements have been exposed as not really a system at all—insofar as that word implies stable, rational, intentional, defensible design. Marilynne Robinson, The New York Review of Books, "What Kind of Country Do We Want?," 27 May 2020 This would arguably be a more defensible use of the $2 trillion that Congress used to fund its coronavirus relief package, which indiscriminately showers money on everyone and everything. Shikha Dalmia, TheWeek, "America's national priority should be a home coronavirus test," 6 Apr. 2020 One of the smarter ideas this season is that Serac is a defensible villain: Rehoboam grew out of nuclear catastrophe and the promise of more catastrophes to come, so even the most heavy-handed tactics to keep mankind in line are sensible. Scott Tobias, New York Times, "‘Westworld’ Season 3, Episode 7 Recap: The Regressive Path," 26 Apr. 2020 This financing—which has included supporting the most extreme oil and gas projects, like the huge pipelines planned in Canada’s uniquely filthy tar sands complex—is perhaps the single least defensible part of the fossil fuel enterprise. Bill Mckibben, The New York Review of Books, "A Very Hot Year," 25 Feb. 2020 One senior administration official said the remarks from both men were unnecessary distractions from what many officials believed was a defensible policy decision. Anchorage Daily News, "‘Four embassies’: The anatomy of Trump’s unfounded claim about Iran," 14 Jan. 2020 But whether or not an All of the Above energy strategy may have been defensible five or 10 years ago, today the need for limits on extraction—including natural gas—is plainer than ever. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "Joe Biden’s Sketchy Climate Record," 10 Mar. 2020

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

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for defensible

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

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Time Traveler for defensible

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

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Statistics for defensible

Last Updated

9 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Defensible.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for defensible


How to pronounce defensible (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of defensible

: able to be thought of as good or acceptable
: able to be defended or protected : able to be kept safe from damage or harm

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