Dictionary: DE-FEND' – DE-FER'RED

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DE-FEND', v.t. [L. defendo; de and obs. fendo; Fr. defendre; It. difendere; Sp. defender; Port. id.; Arm. difenn, or divenn; W. difyn; Norm. fendu; struck; defender, to oppose, to prohibit. The primary sense is to strike, thrust, or drive off; to repel.]

  1. To drive from; to thrust back; hence, to deny; to repel a demand, charge, or accusation; to oppose; to resist; the effect of which is to maintain one's own claims.
  2. To forbid; to prohibit; that is, to drive from, or back. Milton calls the forbidden fruit, the defended fruit. The use of wine in some places is defended by customs or laws. – Temple. [This application is nearly obsolete.]
  3. To drive back a foe or danger; to repel from any thing that which assails or annoys; to protect by opposition or resistance; to support or maintain; to prevent from being injured or destroyed. There arose, to defend Israel, Tola the son of Puah. Judges x.
  4. To vindicate; to assert; to uphold; to maintain uninjured, by force or by argument; as, to defend our cause; to defend rights and privileges; to defend reputation.
  5. To secure against attacks or evil; to fortify against danger or violence; to set obstacles to the approach of any thing that can annoy. A garden may be defended by a grove. A camp may be defended by a wall, a hill, or a river.


That may be defended.

DE-FEND'ANT, a. [French participle of defendre.]

  1. Defensive; proper for defense. – Shak.
  2. Making defense; being in the character of a defendant. – Wheaton's Rep.


  1. He that defends against an assailant, or against the approach of evil or danger.
  2. In law, the party that opposes a complaint, demand, or charge; he that is summoned into court, and defends, denies or opposes the demand or charge, and maintains his own right. It is applied to any party of whom a demand is made in court, whether the party denies and defends, or admits the claim and suffers a default.


Opposed; denied; prohibited; maintained by resistance; vindicated; preserved uninjured; secured.


One who defends by opposition; one who maintains, supports, protects, or vindicates; an assertor; a vindicator, either by arms or by arguments; a champion or an advocate.


Denying; opposing; resisting; forbidding; maintaining uninjured by force or by reason; securing from evil.


Guard; defense; a bandage, plaster, or the like, to secure a wound from external injury. – Johnson.

DE-FENSE', n. [defens'; L. defensio.]

  1. Any thing that opposes attack, violence, danger, or injury; any thing that secures the person, the rights or the possessions of men; fortification; guard; protection; security. A wall, a parapet, a ditch, or a garrison, is the defense of a city or fortress. The Almighty is the defense of the righteous. – Ps. lix.
  2. Vindication; justification; apology; that which repels or disproves a charge or accusation. Men, brethren, fathers, hear ye my defense. – Acts xxii.
  3. In law, the defendant's reply to the plaintif's declaration, demands, or charges.
  4. Prohibition. [Obs.] – Temple.
  5. Resistance; opposition. – Shak.
  6. The science of defending against enemies; military skill.
  7. In fortification, a work that flanks another.

DE-FENSE', v.t. [defens'.]

To defend by fortification. [Obs.] – Fairfax.



DE-FENSE'LESS, a. [defens'less.]

Being without defense, or without means of repelling assault or injury; applied to a town, it denotes unfortified or ungarrisoned; open to an enemy; applied to a person, it denotes naked; unarmed; unprotected; unprepared to resist attack; weak; unable to oppose; uncovered; unsheltered.

DE-FENSE'LESS-NESS, n. [defens'lessness.]

The state of being unguarded or unprotected.


  1. That may be defended; as, a defensible city.
  2. That may be vindicated, maintained, or justified; as, a defensible cause.

DE-FENS'IVE, a. [Fr. defensif.]

  1. That serves to defend; proper for defense; as, defensive armor, which repels attacks or blows, opposed to offensive arms, which are used in attack.
  2. Carried on in resisting attack or aggression; as, defensive war, in distinction from offensive war, which is aggressive.
  3. In a state or posture to defend. – Milton.


Safeguard; that which defends. Wars preventive, upon just fears, are true defensives. – Bacon. To be on the defensive, or to stand on the defensive, is to be or stand in the state or posture of defense or resistance, in opposition to aggression or attack.


In a defensive manner; on the defensive; in defense.

DE-FER', v.i.

To yield to another's opinion; to submit in opinion; as, he defers to the opinion of his father.

DE-FER', v.t. [L. differo; dis, from, and fero, to bear.]

  1. To delay; to put off; to postpone to a future time; as, to defer the execution of a design. When thou vowest a vow, defer not to pay it. – Eccles. v. Hope deferred maketh the heart sick. – Prov. xiii.
  2. To refer; to leave to another's judgment and determination. – Bacon. [In this sense, Refer is now used.]


  1. A yielding in opinion; submission of judgment to the opinion or judgment of another. Hence, regard; respect. We often decline acting in opposition to those for whose wisdom we have a great deference.
  2. Complaisance; condescension. – Locke.
  3. Submission. – Addison.


Bearing; carrying; conveying. [Little used.] – Bacon.


  1. That which carries or conveys. The deferent of a planet, is an imaginary circle or orb in the Ptolemaic system, that is supposed to carry about the body of the planet. – Bailey.
  2. A vessel in the human body for the conveyance of fluids. – Chambers.


Expressing deference.


Delay. – Suckling.


Delayed; postponed.