1

defensive

play
adjective de·fen·sive \di-ˈfen(t)-siv, ˈdē-ˌ\

Definition of defensive

  1. 1 :  serving to defend or protect defensive fortifications

  2. 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

  3. 3 card games a :  valuable in defensive play a defensive card in bridgeb :  designed to keep an opponent from being the highest bidder a defensive bid

defensively

adverb

defensiveness

noun

Examples of defensive in a Sentence

  1. The city began building a defensive wall around its borders.

  2. The government decided to join a defensive alliance with several other nations.

  3. I was surprised by his defensive reaction to my suggestion.

  4. There's no need to get so defensive. I was only making a suggestion.

  5. When we asked her about the mistakes, she became defensive.

  6. The coach has a strong defensive strategy.

Recent Examples of defensive from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of defensive

see 1defense


2

defensive

noun de·fen·sive

Definition of defensive

  1. :  a position serving to protect or defend :  a defensive position

on the defensive

  1. :  in the state or condition of being prepared or required to defend against attack or criticism keeping his political opponent on the defensive

Examples of defensive in a Sentence

  1. their unexpectedly harsh words put him on the defensive

Recent Examples of defensive from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of defensive

see 1defense



DEFENSIVE Defined for English Language Learners

defensive

play
adjective

Definition of defensive for English Language Learners

  • : defending or protecting someone or something from attack : helping to keep a person or thing safe

  • : behaving in a way that shows that you feel people are criticizing you

  • sports : of or relating to the way that players try to stop an opponent from scoring in a game or contest


DEFENSIVE Defined for Kids

1

defensive

play
adjective de·fen·sive \di-ˈfen-siv\

Definition of defensive for Students

  1. 1 :  serving or meant to defend or protect a defensive structure

  2. 2 :  relating to the attempt to keep an opponent from scoring a defensive play

  3. 3 :  showing a dislike for criticism She got defensive about my suggestion.

defensively

adverb

2

defensive

play
noun de·fen·sive

Definition of defensive for Students

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


Medical Dictionary

defensive

play play
adjective de·fen·sive \di-ˈfen(t)-siv, ˈdē-ˌ\

Medical Definition of defensive

  1. 1:  serving to defend or protect (as the ego) face-saving is a common defensive reaction—Psychology Today

  2. 2:  devoted to resisting or preventing aggression or attack defensive behavior

defensively

adverb

defensiveness

noun

Law Dictionary

defensive

adjective de·fen·sive

Legal Definition of defensive

  1. 1 :  serving to defend or as part of a defense a defensive pleading

  2. 2 :  devoted to resisting or preventing aggressive actions a defensive recapitalization…to escape a takeover attempt — Barbara Franklin

defensively

adverb


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