defendant

noun
de·​fen·​dant | \ di-ˈfen-dənt How to pronounce defendant (audio) , in legal circles often -ˌdant How to pronounce defendant (audio) \

Definition of defendant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

law
: a person or group against whom a criminal or civil action is brought : someone who is being sued or accused of committing a crime if the jury finds the defendant not guilty — compare plaintiff

defendant

adjective

Definition of defendant (Entry 2 of 2)

: being on the defensive : defending

Examples of defendant in a Sentence

Noun The jury believed that the defendant was guilty.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The emails were revealed in a motion filed early Wednesday by an attorney for Kelly’s co-defendant, Derrel McDavid. Megan Crepeau, Chicago Tribune, 3 Aug. 2022 Ali, a co-defendant in the case, had maintained his innocence since the two were arrested last April and pleaded not guilty to the charges filed against him. Quinn Owen, ABC News, 2 Aug. 2022 Julian Khater, Tanios’ co-defendant, is currently in plea negotiations. Ella Lee, USA TODAY, 28 July 2022 Markin and co-defendant Brandon Wong, 38, tipped off at least 20 people, who collectively made millions of dollars in trading profits from the information, the indictment alleges. Lauren Del Valle, CNN, 26 July 2022 Prosecutors alleged Van Eman and co-defendant Benjamin McConley, operating as Weathervane Productions, offered to provide financing to investors seeking to produce independent movies, Broadway shows and music festivals, among other projects. Winston Cho, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 July 2022 Co-defendant Grover Preston Everett, 39, pleaded guilty to the same charges. City News Service, San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 July 2022 The jury deadlocked on the charges against Fox and co-defendant Barry Croft, triggering a mistrial. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, 13 July 2022 The investigation revealed that the fire was set in a mistaken attempt at revenge against someone who’d stolen one of the co-defendant’s phones, a Denver detective testified last year. Jon Schuppe, NBC News, 30 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Grover Preston Everett, 39, received the same sentence that co-defendant Hans Jurgen Sarda, 30, was given last week. City News Service, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 July 2022 Cahill cited the May 18 guilty plea by Thao and Keung’s co-defendant, former officer Thomas Lane. Washington Post, 6 June 2022 Cahill cited the May 18 guilty plea by Thao and Keung's co-defendant, former Officer Thomas Lane, as well as the convictions of Thao, Kueng and Lane on federal civil rights charges in a separate trial in federal court in February. Danielle Wallace, Fox News, 6 June 2022 On the day of the shooting, Cartwright’s co-defendant, 38-year-old Lorena Espinoza, entered Bottom Price Flooring on G Street first and lured the victim to the back of the store, where Cartwright later shot him, according to prosecutors. City News Service, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 June 2022 Dimora’s cohort and co-defendant, former county Auditor Frank Russo, died last month. Adam Ferrise, cleveland, 2 May 2022 Cahill cited the May 18 guilty plea by Thao and Keung's co-defendant, former Officer Thomas Lane. Steve Karnowski, BostonGlobe.com, 6 June 2022 Deputy District Attorney Matt Greco said Cartwright’s co-defendant, 38-year-old Lorena Espinoza, entered the business first and lured the Radda to the back of his store, where he was later fatally shot by Cartwright. City News Service, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 June 2022 His co-defendant, 31-year-old Nichelle Greene, was deciding around midday Tuesday whether to go to trial on felony murder and robbery charges after an emotional plea hearing. Alex Mann, Baltimore Sun, 3 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'defendant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of defendant

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for defendant

Noun

Middle English defendaunt, borrowed from Anglo-French defendant, diffendaunt, noun derivative from present participle of defendre "to defend"

Adjective

Middle English defendaunt, from Anglo-French defendant, present participle of defendre "to defend"

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Time Traveler for defendant

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near defendant

defend

defendant

defender

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Statistics for defendant

Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Defendant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/defendant. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for defendant

defendant

noun
de·​fen·​dant | \ di-ˈfen-dənt, -ˌdant How to pronounce defendant (audio) \

Legal Definition of defendant

: the party against whom a criminal or civil action is brought — see also answer, codefendant — compare accused, plaintiff

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