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noun defence pronunciation in British English /dɪˈfens/
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

      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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