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defense - definition and synonyms


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noun defense pronunciation in American 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 defense: Two of his friends came to his defense.
    1. a.
      [uncountable] the system of weapons, equipment, and people used for protecting a country
      Huge amounts of government money are spent on defense.
      an attempt to reduce the defense budget
      The president has promised to increase defense spending.
    2. b.
      [countable] [usually plural] the particular structures, weapons, and people that are used to protect a place
      The city walls were built as a defense against invaders.
      He stressed the need to strengthen the nation’s defenses.
  2. 2
    [countable/uncountable] something that you say to support someone or something that is being criticized
    defense of: The President responded with a strong defense of his foreign policy.
    in defense of: Monroe has been fierce in defense of the present system.
    speak/say something in someone’s defense: Several people spoke in my defense.
    come/spring/rush to someone’s defense: Martin immediately sprang to her defense, saying she was innocent.
    1. a.
      [singular] all the things that are said and shown in a court case to prove that someone is not guilty
      I think we have quite a strong defense.
      mount a defense: He mounted a surprisingly effective defense.
    2. b.

      the defense

      the people in a court case who try to prove that someone is not guilty
      The defense will begin giving evidence tomorrow.
  3. 3
    [countable] [often plural] something that happens in your body to prevent you from becoming sick
    new drugs that work by strengthening the body’s own defenses
  4. 5
    [singular] an attempt by someone to win a competition that they won last time so they keep their position as winner
    Simpson is in New York this week for the defense of his title.
  5. 6
    [countable] a way of thinking or behaving that protects you from being tricked or hurt
    someone’s defenses are down: He got me to sign the contract when my defenses were down.
See also


a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

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an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

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