Synonyms & Antonyms of defend

1 to drive danger or attack away from
  • a solemn oath to defend the mother country at any cost

Synonyms for defend

Words Related to defend

Phrases Synonymous with defend

Near Antonyms for defend

Antonyms for defend

2 to continue to declare to be true or proper despite opposition or objections
  • she will pigheadedly defend any claim regardless of all evidence to the contrary

Synonyms for defend

Words Related to defend

Phrases Synonymous with defend

Near Antonyms for defend

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About defend

How is the word defend different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of defend are guard, protect, safeguard, and shield. While all these words mean "to keep secure from danger or against attack," defend denotes warding off actual or threatened attack.

defend the country

When is guard a more appropriate choice than defend?

The meanings of guard and defend largely overlap; however, guard implies protecting with vigilance and force against expected danger.

White House entrances are well guarded

When would protect be a good substitute for defend?

The synonyms protect and defend are sometimes interchangeable, but protect implies the use of something (such as a covering) as a bar to the admission or impact of what may attack or injure.

a hard hat to protect your head

When might safeguard be a better fit than defend?

Although the words safeguard and defend have much in common, safeguard implies taking precautionary protective measures against merely possible danger.

our civil liberties must be safeguarded

Where would shield be a reasonable alternative to defend?

The words shield and defend are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, shield suggests protective intervention in imminent danger or actual attack.

shielded her eyes from the sun with her hand

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Time Traveler for defend

Time Traveler

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

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Thesaurus Entries Near defend

defects (from)



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Cite this Entry

“Defend.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on defend

Nglish: Translation of defend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of defend for Arabic Speakers


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