\ ˈfend How to pronounce fend (audio) \
fended; fending; fends

Definition of fend

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : defend
2 : to keep or ward off : repel often used with offfend off an invader
3 dialectal British : to provide for : support

intransitive verb

1 dialectal British : to make an effort : struggle
2a : to try to get along without help : shift had to fend for themselves
b : to provide a livelihood



Definition of fend (Entry 2 of 2)

chiefly Scotland
: an effort or attempt especially for oneself

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Synonyms & Antonyms for fend

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of fend in a Sentence

Verb uses self-deprecating humor to fend herself from serious criticism
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Local leaders and their constituents are left to fend for themselves. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "As New York Reaches a Coronavirus Landmark, Parts of Red America Are Facing a Potential Disaster," 19 June 2020 The government says the rules are intended to fend off opportunistic acquisitions and takeovers of Indian companies grappling with the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. Sherisse Pham And Rishi Iyengar, CNN, "China and India need each other. Just look at technology," 17 June 2020 Donated food and medical supplies, including gloves, masks, and hand-sanitizer to fend off the coronavirus, are distributed from sidewalk stalls. Ann Scott Tyson, The Christian Science Monitor, "‘History in the making’? Seattle protest zone prompts rethink on policing.," 16 June 2020 While remembered as a reformer who appointed a progressive former UAW activist, George Edwards, as police commissioner, Cavanagh failed to control the police, who managed to fend off most of Edwards’ proposed changes. Freep.com, "DPD's troubled relationship with Black Detroiters spans decades," 14 June 2020 For residents of Russia’s communal apartments — a relic of the Soviet Union but still home to hundreds of thousands of people, most of them in St. Petersburg — self-isolation to fend off the coronavirus is hardly an option. Andrew E. Kramer, BostonGlobe.com, "Too close for comfort, and the virus, in Russia’s communal apartments," 13 June 2020 Still, the cost of hiring lawyers to fend off regulators and the risk of losing an Amazon business isn’t worth it for many merchants to sell the products Amazon started aggressively monitoring, Rosenbaum says. Fortune, "Amazon’s crackdown on price-gouging of cleaning supplies made shortages worse," 11 June 2020 People thought masks worn to fend off the coronavirus might also defeat facial recognition software; instead, fed on a diet of real and simulated images of masked faces, the algorithms rapidly adapted. Owen Thomas, SFChronicle.com, "The tech industry may be ready to defund facial recognition," 10 June 2020 India is adding a similar number of troops as well as artillery guns along the border to fend off the continuing incursions by Chinese army, the official said. Archana Chaudhary, Bloomberg.com, "India and China Move In More Troops as Border Tensions Rise," 7 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But the United States has continued to sell arms to Taiwan to help the democratic island fend off the threat of attack from Chinese Communist forces. Washington Post, "Taiwan military chief among eight killed in Black Hawk helicopter crash," 2 Jan. 2020 After an outing with a GQ contributor and a maître d’ (who brings his own supply of black truffles to a beer garden), she and a coworker fend off an assault from the maître d’ in the back of a taxi. Laura Marsh, The New Republic, "Infinite Jerk," 12 Feb. 2020 Kerevi was harshly judged after his fend hit the chest and slipped up the upright Patchell’s body. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Wales edge Wallabies to end 28 years of World Cup misery," 29 Sep. 2019 Rhodes is expected to secure more such partnerships as Spotify ramps up its efforts to become a dominant player in the podcasting space, as well as fend off rival streaming services like Apple Music and Google Play. Chris Eggertsen, Billboard, "Spotify Hires Former CBS News Head David Rhodes as Part of Broader Podcasting Push," 6 Sep. 2019 Instagram will soon account for a sizable part of owner Facebook’s revenue growth, and also keeps Facebook connected to younger people online while helping fend off a potential threat from rival Snapchat. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Inside the $21 billion market to track your every move," 11 Dec. 2018 And sensitive types should look to Kevin Murphy’s Maxi Wash, a pretreatment that balances your scalp to its ideal 5.5 to 6.5 pH range and fends off any irritation from color sessions. Kari Molvar, Vogue, "The Supercharged Detox Ingredient That’s Missing From Your Shampoo," 14 June 2018 Singletary made three three-pointers in the third quarter, helping fend off a couple different mini runs that Lumberton had. Elliott Lapin, Houston Chronicle, "Byrd's 41 boosts Kingwood Park to opening round playoff win," 13 Feb. 2018 Instead of letting the fish fend for themselves while trying to reach the ocean, they are intercepted and taken to the hatchery at Cherrylane to be reconditioned. Eric Barker, idahostatesman, "About 100 steelhead repeat spawners released on Snake River | Idaho Statesman," 30 Oct. 2017

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1721, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fend


Middle English fenden, short for defenden "to defend"

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Time Traveler for fend

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for fend

Last Updated

24 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fend.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fend. Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for fend


\ ˈfend How to pronounce fend (audio) \
fended; fending

Kids Definition of fend

1 : to drive away or repel I tried to fend off an attack.
2 : to get along without help You'll have to fend for yourself.

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More from Merriam-Webster on fend

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fend

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fend

Spanish Central: Translation of fend

Nglish: Translation of fend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fend for Arabic Speakers

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