Meaning of DEFENSE in English

I. də̇ˈfen(t)s, dēˈ-, ˈdēˌf- noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English defens, defense, from Old French; Old French defens, from Medieval Latin defensum, from Latin, neuter of defensus, past participle of defendere to defend; Old French defense from (assumed) Vulgar Latin defensa, from Latin, feminine of defensus — more at defend


a. : the act of defending

the defense of Moscow

to die in defense of liberty

— opposed to attack

b. : a defendant's denial, answer, or plea : an opposing or denial of the truth or validity of the plaintiff's or prosecutor's case — compare answer 2c

2. : capability of resisting attack

a football team weak in defense

: practice or manner of self-protection

the body's defenses against disease are weakened by hunger

— usually used in plural


a. : means or method of defending

weapons of defense

: defensive plan, policy, or structure

the inadequate defenses of the capital were easily penetrated by the enemy troops

— usually used in plural

b. : the method and collected facts adopted by a defendant to protect himself against a plaintiff's action

c. : a sequence of moves available in chess to the second player in the opening ; also : any opening having certain characteristic moves for the second player

d. : an argument prepared or advanced to defend an action, policy, or thesis : justification


a. : defenders or the positions taken up by them

ran through the defense for a touchdown

falsecarding to mislead the defense

b. : a cricket team's batting power or batsmen — contrasted with attack

5. : a prohibitory ordinance : prohibition especially of fishing or hunting

the defense months when fish are spawning

— used chiefly in in defense

trout streams were put in defense

II. transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English defensen, from Middle French defenser, from Latin defensare, from defensus, past participle of defendere to defend — more at defend

1. obsolete : to furnish with defenses : fortify


a. : to impede the progress of (the football player or team in possession of the ball)

he was thoroughly defensed

b. : to break up or defend against (a particular play)

defense the single wing running pass

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.