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defence - definition and synonyms

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noun     defence pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    [uncountable] actions that you take to protect someone or something that is being attacked
    come/rush to someone’s defence:

    Two of his friends came to his defence.

    1. a.
      [uncountable] the system of weapons, equipment, and people that is used to protect a country

      Huge amounts of government money are spent on defence.

      an attempt to reduce the defence budget

      The President has promised to increase defence spending.

      defence cuts (=spending less money on defence):

      More defence cuts are expected next year.

    2. b.
      [countable] [usually plural] the particular structures, weapons, and people that are used for protecting a place

      The city walls were built as a defence against invaders.

      strengthen someone’s/something’s defences:

      He stressed the need to strengthen the nation’s defences.

      flood defences (=structures built to prevent the sea or a river from coming into a place):

      New flood defences are being built along the river bank.

  2. 2
    [countable/uncountable] something that you say to support someone or something that is being criticized
    defence of:

    The Minister responded with a strong defence of the government’s policy.

    speak/say something in someone’s defence:

    Several people spoke in my defence.

    in defence of:

    Monroe has been fierce in defence of the present system.

    come/spring/leap to someone’s defence:

    Martin immediately sprang to her defence, saying she was innocent.

    1. a.
      [countable] [usually singular] legal all the things that are said and shown in a court case to prove that someone is not guilty. The things that are said and shown to prove that someone is guilty are called the prosecution
      conduct someone’s defence:

      She decided to conduct her own defence.

      mount a defence:

      He mounted a surprisingly effective defence.

    2. b.

      the defence

      legal the people in a court case who try to prove that someone is not guilty. The people who try to prove that someone is guilty are called the prosecution. The defence can be followed by a singular or plural verb

      The defence will begin giving evidence tomorrow.

  3. 3
    [countable] something that happens in your body to prevent you from becoming ill

    new drugs that work by strengthening the body’s own defences

  4. 4
    [countable/uncountable] the players in a team game who try to prevent the other team from scoring points

    France has a very strong defence.

    I usually play in defence.

  5. 5
    [singular] an attempt by someone to win a competition that they won last time so that they keep their position as winner

    Simpson is in New York this week for the defence of his title.

  6. 6
    [countable] a way of thinking or behaving that protects you from being tricked or hurt
    someone’s defences are down:

    He got me to sign the contract when my defences were down.

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