defensive1 of 2
de·fen·sive di-ˈfen(t)-siv ˈdē-ˌfen(t)-
: devoted to resisting or preventing aggression or attack
He became defensive when I brought up his spending habits.
sports : of or relating to the attempt to keep an opponent from scoring in a game or contest
a player with good defensive skills
made a brilliant defensive play
also : of or relating to a team that is not in possession of the ball or puck
a defensive lineman
: valuable in defensive play
a defensive card in bridge
: designed to keep an opponent from being the highest bidder
a defensive bid
Adjective The city began building a defensive wall around its borders. The government decided to join a defensive alliance with several other nations. I was surprised by his defensive reaction to my suggestion. There's no need to get so defensive. I was only making a suggestion. When we asked her about the mistakes, she became defensive. The coach has a strong defensive strategy. Noun their unexpectedly harsh words put him on the defensive See More
Recent Examples on the Web
AdjectiveRiley Greene made one of the best defensive plays of the season Sunday for the Detroit Tigers. —Marlowe Alter, Detroit Free Press, 28 May 2023 On Saturday, Roberts’ gamble on Rojas — who has been on an upswing lately with his bat and defensive play — paid off. —Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, 28 May 2023 Fortunately for Heritage, Hall made a strategic adjustment, and her first baseman Natalie Lopez made a huge defensive play to give Heritage its biggest win in program history. —Greg Riddle, Dallas News, 27 May 2023 Sororities were originally built as defensive measures. —Vulture, 25 May 2023 Withrow defensive back Terhyon Nichols released his final six schools on Twitter Wednesday. —Shelby Dermer, The Enquirer, 25 May 2023 Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney was also suspended indefinitely and will miss at least 2023. —Safid Deen, USA TODAY, 25 May 2023 Some Russian officials and bloggers claimed the attack was meant to distract from Russian success in Bakhmut, but others warned that the anti-Kremlin partisans appeared to easily penetrate Russia's first line of defensive fortifications. —Peter Weber, The Week, 23 May 2023 David Turner, currently the defensive line coach at Mississippi State, coached that position for the Gators from 2019 through 2021. —Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune, 17 May 2023
NounTarget is on the defensive after removing LGBTQ+-themed products. —Elvia Limón, Los Angeles Times, 26 May 2023 Even more were protective of D’Elia, mocking Anderson’s pedigree, doubting the women’s stories, and going on the defensive for their favorite comedian. —Cheyenne Roundtree, Rolling Stone, 16 May 2023 Short of actually building Trump’s phantom wall, there is no plausible way for Biden to avoid being permanently on the defensive on immigration. —Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 10 May 2023 Mid, here, became a dog whistle for conservative, and viewers were on the defensive. —Kaitlyn Greenidge, Harper's BAZAAR, 6 May 2023 This week’s vote by House Republicans to couple deep spending cuts with an agreement to raise the debt limit for one year has put President Biden on the defensive, forcing him to confront a series of potentially painful choices at a perilous economic moment. —Jim Tankersley, New York Times, 27 Apr. 2023 The mixed reaction put attorneys for Dominion on the defensive during their post-trial interviews after the settlement was announced. —Stephen Battaglio, Los Angeles Times, 19 Apr. 2023 The three counties found themselves on the defensive against another blow to California’s troubled cannabis market. —Alicia Victoria Lozano, NBC News, 14 Apr. 2023 Ramsey will be the fourth defensive back in NFL history to be a first-team All-Pro at least three times before turning 30 years old who played for at least three teams in that time, ESPN Stats and Information reported. —Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, 13 Mar. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'defensive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
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