I. de ‧ fen ‧ sive 1 /dɪˈfensɪv/ BrE AmE adjective
[ Word Family: noun : DEFENCE/DEFENSE , ↑ defendant , ↑ defender , ↑ defensiveness ; adjective : DEFENCELESS/DEFENSELESS , ↑ defensible ≠ ↑ indefensible , ↑ defensive ; adverb : ↑ defensibly ≠ ↑ indefensibly , ↑ defensively ; verb : ↑ defend ]
1 . used or intended to protect someone or something against attack OPP offensive :
The prince drew up his forces in a strong defensive position.
The rockets are a purely defensive measure against nuclear attack.
2 . behaving in a way that shows you think someone is criticizing you even if they are not:
She despised herself for sounding so defensive.
a reserved and defensive manner
3 . American English relating to stopping the other team from getting points in a game OPP offensive :
—defensiveness noun [uncountable]
II. defensive 2 BrE AmE noun
1 . on/onto the defensive behaving in a way that shows that you think that someone is criticizing you even if they are not:
In his presence, she was constantly on the defensive.
2 . put/force somebody on the defensive if you put someone on the defensive in an argument, you attack them so that they are in a weaker position ⇨ go on the offensive :
an issue that put the White House on the defensive