self-defense

noun
self-de·​fense | \ ˌself-di-ˈfen(t)s How to pronounce self-defense (audio) \

Definition of self-defense

1 : a plea of justification for the use of force or for homicide
2 : the act of defending oneself, one's property, or a close relative

First Known Use of self-defense

1609, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for self-defense

Time Traveler

The first known use of self-defense was in 1609

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Cite this Entry

“Self-defense.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/self-defense. Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for self-defense

self-defense

noun

English Language Learners Definition of self-defense

: the act of defending yourself, your property, etc.
: skills that make you capable of protecting yourself during an attack

self-defense

noun
self-de·​fense | \ ˌself-di-ˈfens \

Kids Definition of self-defense

: someone's act of defending himself or herself or his or her property I acted in self-defense.

self-defense

noun
self-de·​fense | \ ˈself-di-ˈfens \

Legal Definition of self-defense

1 : the use of force to defend oneself
2 : an affirmative defense (as to a murder charge) alleging that the defendant used force necessarily to protect himself or herself because of a reasonable belief that the other party intended to inflict great bodily harm or death — see also justification sense 2

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More from Merriam-Webster on self-defense

Nglish: Translation of self-defense for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of self-defense for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about self-defense

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