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


defendable, tenable


indefensible, untenable

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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

Chapter Seven: Maiden, Mother, Crone, Mothman, Hans Moleman Chapter Eight: Footnotes, For Legitimacy In which the author clearly feels obligated to badly summarize theory in order to offer a publicly defensible sense of self. David Canfield,, "Exclusive preview: Daniel Mallory Ortberg returns with new memoir-in-essays," 2 July 2019 And those great low-lying colonial ports will prove far more susceptible to sudden flooding and rises in sea level than older, more defensible ports farther up rivers were. The Economist, "The South Asian monsoon, past, present and future," 27 June 2019 But there are more defensible reasons for lower-level unease. Christopher Tayler, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 24 June 2019 As sharing and vetting environmental data have become bigger parts of modern ecology, however, those idiosyncrasies have become less defensible, as the OHI effort came to rue. Quanta Magazine, "Awash in Sea of Data, Ecologists Turn to Open Access Tools," 24 May 2017 While multiple aircraft fly successive water-bombing missions, the men on the ground race to cut a defensible fire line north through the forest—chainsawing trees, mowing down the underbrush, pounding out flames. Mark Jenkins, National Geographic, "When wildfires break out, this elite team of ‘smokejumpers’ parachute in," 12 June 2019 There’s more: The Ready for Wildfire app provides tips to help homeowners create defensible space around their homes as well as advice on fire-resistant construction. Patrick May, The Mercury News, "5 ways to track California’s wildfire season," 10 June 2019 Among information included in the brochure is proper brush clearance, landscaping for fire resistance, how to maintain a defensible space around the home and evacuation tips. Maureen Robertson, Ramona Sentinel, "News Briefs: Bow Wow Pow Wow, school plan public hearing," 5 June 2019 On the whole, a strong global outlook appeared defensible. Josh Zumbrun, WSJ, "IMF’s Departing Chief Economist Issues a Rare Warning on U.S. Growth," 9 Dec. 2018

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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Statistics for defensible

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for defensible

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

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More Definitions for defensible



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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Comments on defensible

What made you want to look up defensible? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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