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defence - definition and synonyms


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noun defence pronunciation in British English /dɪˈfens/
Word Forms
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  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
      Government forces have breached the rebels’ defences.
      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.
  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.
See also


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