\ 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 off fend 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for fend

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of fend in a Sentence

Verb uses self-deprecating humor to fend herself from serious criticism
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This is especially true for creatures that don’t nurture their young since newborns have to fend for themselves as soon as they are brought into the world. Mike Wehner, BGR, "Mantis shrimp throw deadly punches just 9 days after birth," 1 May 2021 Democratic lawmakers also contended the state essentially leaves families of children with genetic conditions to fend for themselves once those children are born. Maria Polletta, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signs sweeping anti-abortion bill into law," 27 Apr. 2021 This could leave the most stubborn refusers to fend for themselves — without condemning the country as a whole to a permanent life of limits and lockdowns. Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone, "Antivax Chronicles: Covid Vaccine Supply Will Soon Outpace Demand in the U.S.," 22 Apr. 2021 Instead, recent years have been weighed down by a pall of grief from the loss of underappreciated icons who formed the genre, left neglected and to fend for themselves while their work remains in circulation. Shamira Ibrahim, Vulture, "The Irreplaceable Black Rob, Bad Boy’s First Street Story," 20 Apr. 2021 Johnson, the current world No. 1, will still have to fend off challengers like Jordan Spieth, Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas to win the title. Editors, USA TODAY, "Biden's actions on guns, Chauvin trial, The Masters: 5 things to know Thursday," 8 Apr. 2021 Yet to get the win, the Clippers had to fend off a comeback after their lead was trimmed to two in the third quarter. Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times, "DeMarcus Cousins and Clippers look healthy and strong in his debut, blow out Blazers," 6 Apr. 2021 Most of those eggs are eaten by predators, and most of those that hatch are killed or eaten before the animals can grow large enough to fend for themselves. Greg Stanley, Star Tribune, "Minnesota lawmakers may end commercial turtle harvest," 19 Mar. 2021 The first Big 12 tournament championship in program history now belongs to the 2020-21 Longhorns, who had to fend off a challenge from No. 5 seed Oklahoma State (20-8) and its ascendant freshman superstar, 6-foot-8 point forward Cade Cunningham. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Texas takes next step with elusive Big 12 title," 13 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After around two months, 2-inch long babies hatch from the eggs and fend for themselves. René A. Guzman, ExpressNews.com, "Texas spiny lizard not as famous as the Texas horned lizard or horny toad, but is a master of disguise with real spunk," 22 Dec. 2020 Last week, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany brought her husband, Sean Gilmartin, a major league baseball pitcher, to watch her fend off questions in the briefing room. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "White House winds down as transition gathers pace," 12 Dec. 2020 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

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.

See More

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"

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fend

Time Traveler for fend

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for fend

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fend.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fend. Accessed 13 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on fend

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fend

Nglish: Translation of fend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fend for Arabic Speakers

Comments on fend

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!