defensive

adjective
de·​fen·​sive | \ di-ˈfen(t)-siv How to pronounce defensive (audio) , ˈdē-ˌfen(t)- How to pronounce defensive (audio) \

Definition of defensive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : serving to defend or protect defensive fortifications
2a : devoted to resisting or preventing aggression or attack defensive behavior He became defensive when I brought up his spending habits.
b sports : of or relating to the attempt to keep an opponent from scoring in a game or contest a player with good defensive skills made a brilliant defensive play also : of or relating to a team that is not in possession of the ball or puck a defensive lineman
3 card games
a : valuable in defensive play a defensive card in bridge
b : designed to keep an opponent from being the highest bidder a defensive bid

defensive

noun

Definition of defensive (Entry 2 of 2)

: a position serving to protect or defend : a defensive position
on the defensive
: in the state or condition of being prepared or required to defend against attack or criticism keeping his political opponent on the defensive

Other Words from defensive

Adjective

defensively adverb
defensiveness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for defensive

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of defensive in a Sentence

Adjective The city began building a defensive wall around its borders. The government decided to join a defensive alliance with several other nations. I was surprised by his defensive reaction to my suggestion. There's no need to get so defensive. I was only making a suggestion. When we asked her about the mistakes, she became defensive. The coach has a strong defensive strategy. Noun their unexpectedly harsh words put him on the defensive See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Sixth-round Cincinnati defensive tackle Curtis Brooks is more physically developed and should contend for backup reps behind DeForest Buckner. Nate Atkins, The Indianapolis Star, 9 May 2022 Oklahoma defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey at 108, and LSU kicker Cade York at No. 124. cleveland, 8 May 2022 In the 2022 NFL Draft, Philadelphia used two of its top three picks on players from 2021 CFP national champion Georgia, adding defensive tackle Jordan Davis in the first round and linebacker Nakobe Dean in the third round. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, 8 May 2022 In the draft, the Chargers selected safety JT Woods (third round), defensive tackle Otito Ogbonnia (fifth) and cornerbacks Ja’Sir Taylor (sixth) and Deane Leonard (seventh). Jeff Miller, Los Angeles Times, 5 May 2022 Former Nebraska defensive tackle Casey Rogers committed to join the Ducks on Wednesday. oregonlive, 4 May 2022 The Indianapolis Colts drafted a pair of Cincinnati Bearcats in second-round receiver Alec Pierce and sixth-round defensive tackle Curtis Brooks. Dave Clark, The Enquirer, 3 May 2022 Pittsburgh declined the fifth-year option on inside linebacker Devin Bush and the Chargers did the same with defensive tackle Jerry Tillery, meaning both can become free agents next spring. ... San Francisco Chronicle, 2 May 2022 Former Chicago Bears defensive tackle and TV baking show host Anthony Adams and his wife, Andenika, on April 26 sold their five-bedroom, 4,847-square-foot timber frame house in Wadsworth for $765,000. Bob Goldsborough, Chicago Tribune, 2 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Howitzers are midrange surface-to-surface cannons used to support ground forces in either defensive or attacking maneuvers. Mariia Ulianovska, NBC News, 11 May 2022 Bringing the young defensive back into Indianapolis for a visit was a strong sign the Colts felt the same way. Joel A. Erickson, The Indianapolis Star, 9 May 2022 Sylve had been on the Stars’ inactive list for the first three weeks of the USFL season, but Philadelphia has moved the defensive back to its active roster for Friday night’s game. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, 6 May 2022 Sterling Weatherford - seen by some as a potential defensive back/linebacker hybrid - as an undrafted free agent. Dave Clark, The Enquirer, 3 May 2022 But GM Sam Presti had the difficult decision of keeping James Harden and becoming a luxury-tax team or signing valuable defensive forward Serge Ibaka to an extension and moving Harden. Gary Washburn, BostonGlobe.com, 30 Apr. 2022 The former high school defensive back played with speed at the middle linebacker position at Alabama, spending three years as a starter after Dylan Moses’ injury in 2019 shoved him into a prime role as a true freshman. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, 29 Apr. 2022 Enter Hill, a versatile defensive back who can fill just about any role in the secondary. Baltimore Sun, 29 Apr. 2022 Greg Kafoury of Brenner’s legal team then read to the jury a series of text messages sent from Chulskiy to Taggart from July 12-15, 2015, informing the coach about the hospitalization of then-USF defensive back Deangelo Antoine with rhabdomyolysis. oregonlive, 20 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'defensive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of defensive

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

circa 1585, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for defensive

Adjective

Middle English defensif, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Medieval Latin dēfensīvus, from Latin dēfensus, past participle of dēfendere "to ward off, defend" + -īvus -ive

Noun

Middle English defensif "something acting as protection," borrowed from Medieval Latin dēfensīvum, noun derivative from neuter of dēfensīvus defensive entry 1

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Time Traveler for defensive

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near defensive

defensible

defensive

defensive allegation

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Statistics for defensive

Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Defensive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/defensive. Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for defensive

defensive

adjective
de·​fen·​sive | \ di-ˈfen-siv How to pronounce defensive (audio) \

Kids Definition of defensive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : serving or meant to defend or protect a defensive structure
2 : relating to the attempt to keep an opponent from scoring a defensive play
3 : showing a dislike for criticism She got defensive about my suggestion.

Other Words from defensive

defensively adverb

defensive

noun

Kids Definition of defensive (Entry 2 of 2)

: a position or attitude that is meant to defend The criticism put him on the defensive.

defensive

adjective
de·​fen·​sive | \ di-ˈfen(t)-siv How to pronounce defensive (audio) , ˈdē-ˌ How to pronounce defensive (audio) \

Medical Definition of defensive

1 : serving to defend or protect (as the ego) face-saving is a common defensive reactionPsychology Today
2 : devoted to resisting or preventing aggression or attack defensive behavior

Other Words from defensive

defensively adverb
defensiveness noun

defensive

adjective
de·​fen·​sive

Legal Definition of defensive

1 : serving to defend or as part of a defense a defensive pleading
2 : devoted to resisting or preventing aggressive actions a defensive recapitalization…to escape a takeover attempt— Barbara Franklin

Other Words from defensive

defensively adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on defensive

Nglish: Translation of defensive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of defensive for Arabic Speakers

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