/ dɪˈfensɪv; NAmE / adjective , noun
protecting sb/sth against attack :
a defensive measure
Troops took up a defensive position around the town.
behaving in a way that shows that you feel that people are criticizing you :
Don't ask him about his plans—he just gets defensive.
( sport ) connected with trying to prevent the other team or player from scoring points or goals :
► de·fen·sive·ly adverb
► de·fen·sive·ness noun [ U ]
- on / onto the defensive
late Middle English : from Old French défensif , -ive , from medieval Latin defensivus , from Latin defens- warded off, from the verb defendere , from de- off + -fendere to strike.